Yesterday, I took a long bike ride over these picturesque country roads. This area seems to have gotten popular with cyclists and I can understand why. But it is awfully hot out there and one has to work hard to reach their destination.
On my way from Duke and Candy's farm to Cairo, I contemplated on the life of my dear Mom. But, as much as I wanted to meditate, I found it hard through the sweat and the sound of my lungs taking in and expelling all the air I needed to speed ahead. Though much of the way was unpleasant, I found myself sailing through shady stretches of road where the air was cool and the breeze I was generating provided a feeling of ecstasy. For a moment the ride was wonderful. I felt fresh and invincible. The burning rays of the Sun I had endured seconds ago were a distant memory. I could relish the moment and see only good in it. But in the back of my mind I knew I would have to face the heat again. Cairo was still miles away.
Natural elements were not my only obstacles. I had other things to contend with. Things which were not evident when I looked far down the road. A countless number of cracks and potholes; sticks and debris. Speeding trucks suddenly appeared in my rear view mirror like memories coming back to haunt me... and, worst of all, mad dogs vicious about keeping me out of their territory. As much as I wanted to relax and see this ride as a free spirited journey, I could not ignore the ever-present possibility of catastrophe and have some sort of plan to confront it and prevail.
When I finally arrived safely in Cairo, I rested, sipped water, and my thoughts drifted back to Mom. I was halfway through my journey now and I realized, at 45, halfway through my life. The second half of the ride - the second half of my life lay ahead and it will bring the same complement of beauty and harsh confrontations as the first.
On the way home, the ride was no easier. A rainstorm came adding friction to the chemistry of rubber against road and fogging my glasses. On top of all this, my body was worn out and I had to shift my dependency to experience and the wisdom I gained from the ride over about what lay ahead in my way and what I now had an acute realization of - that many encounters are impossible for me to predict and therefore to plan for. I would just have to face each one as it emerged and with faith and determination get through it.
This is the way my Mother approached life. With hope, faith in God and with determination. Her life had its obstacles. Alone at 17 years old, having lost her Mom and Dad. Struggling to survive in a big unforgiving city. By enduring, cool shady stretches of road were sure to arrive and they sure did. A fabulous husband and father; four terrific daughters, then me; a house at the beach and one in the beautiful suburbs of the greatest city on Earth. But at the halfway point, after so many goals had been reached, there was little time to rest. Much more was ahead, both good and bad, predictable and shocking. The untimely death of my Father, her children spread out across the country peddling vigorously through their own eventful lives and she not always being there physically to comfort or rejoice with them. The wearing down of her body made the ride home tougher. But, full of experience, wisdom and pride in her accomplishments, she had infinite reasons to celebrate, and, the trip home - the trip that ended yesterday at 5:45 am - was something she could eagerly anticipate. For the ride had been complete, full of rich, rewarding moments; challenges gallantly conquered; love experienced abundantly, and best of all, faith in God and his promise of resurrection and wholeness again.
Free now of the pain and her deteriorated body, her soul rejoices and we are glad.