Today my new book just came out, Ponderings of a Pedaling Pastor. This blog is a continuation of the purpose my book was written to serve: encouraging readers to ponder the typical and the easily overlooked. Sacred moments don't always start out that way. But given time and thought, you can find a gem.
I tell a story in my book about a bike ride on Maryland's Eastern Shore, during which I was hunting for a restroom. Over there, most businesses in the rural areas are closed. So I asked a man at a gas station convenience store for directions. That led me to his little hotel in a small town. Wound up staying over, meeting a new friend, and discovering a quaint little town I otherwise would have passed by. All of that because I asked where I could find a restroom.
In 2016, I met a pastor at our local Starbucks. He was driving from Fort Edward, NY on his way to see family down south. Our brief conversation led to him giving me his address and inviting me to ride to his home if I ever do some cycling in upstate New York. Because of that offer, I rerouted my planned summer bicycle trip to explore American Revolution sites in the Hudson River Valley, with the goal of reaching Fort Ticonderoga. The end goal was to stay at his place and meet his family in Fort Edward.
I didn't make it that far, but I did get to see the Saratoga Battlefield as a result of a delay caused by a bike repair issue (an unexpected detour). And I did make it to his home in Fort Edward.
My trip introduced me to incredible stories of heroism from the Revolutionary era. I discovered that Benedict Arnold was a brave and amazing general; a war hero. If he hadn't sold out to the British, we'd revere him as much as we do Nathan Hale, or even George Washington.
But all of this and the adventuresome 300+ mile bike ride I took that summer, which was gorgeous, came as a result of striking up a conversation with a man at Starbucks.
I tell stories like these in my book and will tell more in this blog. It's not just about what I do and where I've gone on a bicycle. It's also about just taking time to think. There's so much we miss because we just don't slow down and ponder it awhile.