It is remarkable to me that I can sit in a forest by a lake in East Texas, eat a salad, read a book, go for a walk. Or that we can park in a woodsy glade in a State Park with a historic fort and 10 miles of inviting bike trails, and that I can look forward to pedaling every inch of them. Or that we have been able to spend 10 days with Shannon’s family, parked in their driveways, without being a burden (the guests who overstay their welcomes) because we can still go home at night.
Since we found out that we have to go back to New Mexico for my father-in-law’s surgery, we have been dawdling around in East Texas, and I have been doing some reflecting on how truly blessed my life is. We have been able to spend quality time with all of Shannon’s family, and I was able to form relationships with all the cousins whom I had met only briefly or not at all in the past. I was able to help with the preparations for Aunt Helen’s 80th Birthday Bash, the main reason we stayed in the area for so long.
We were also able to do a little touristing: The Richest Acre in the World in Kilgore, Texas, where six different oil companies tried to suck as much crude out of the ground as they could before derrick spacing laws were enacted,
and do some hiking and cycling at Martin Creek Lake State Park, whose dubious claim to fame is being across the lake from the dirtiest power plant in all Texas, third dirtiest in the country. Fortunately, the pollution goes up in the air, not in the lake water, which is used to cool the water in the plant. This activity has raised the temperature of the lake and made it an excellent fishery for crappie and bass. Still a beautiful park, despite the insistent background hum of the power plant.
Now that we are on the other side of the Birthday Bash, we are headed back west, sticking closely to our 2-2-2 rules (200 miles/day, 2 nights/stop, no travel past 2pm). We will be back in Aztec on the 25th of April. Last year at this time we were still a month away from our launch date, and we still felt like full-time roadies, so there is lots of hope yet for this year.
I am currently reading a devotion by Oswald Chambers called Peace: Life in the Spirit. I like Oswald Chambers because he makes me think, sometimes for days, about a slightly different take on many things that I thought I understood. I am learning that Peace in the Spirit is not contemplative, a thing or state to be obtained. Peace is a process, like health. Peace in the Spirit does not come from extracting ourselves from the affairs of man, but from jumping in with both feet, secure in the knowledge that God’s got our backs. The Path to Peace in the Spirit is not always a calm or easy thing. Sometimes God shakes things up to get us to grow closer to Him.
When things don’t go as we planned, which seems to happen to us a lot, I’m finding that I can just drop my whining and disappointment, shift gears, and move on to the next thing. Peace in the Spirit is devoid of self-interest. I am trying to focus on the wonders in my day-to-day life and learning to let God take care of the Big Picture.