Not Always Together – But Never Alone

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Certain days have a way of falling into a special place, kept as memories, that are treasured forever. Yesterday was one of those days – filled with laughter, fellowship, brotherhood and determination.

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A week or so ago, a ride was put together to Cassoday Kansas, a small town that hosts bikers the first Sunday of the month during the riding season. The ride, suggested by my dear friend Gary Meadows, was to invite some friends to ride along with him to meet up with Soldiers For Jesus, MC – Kansas City Chapter in Cassoday. Gary has been fighting the fight with cancer, and this was his way of showing cancer the true power of the love and support he has behind him.

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I’ve ridden with Gary before. DJ, a mutual friend of ours asked if he and Gary could ride to the rally with me a few years ago, and since I was going by myself, I welcomed it. That particular trip was thrown together in what seemed like a matter of days, and not knowing Gary on a personal level, it was clear to me he is someone who’s path I should have crossed many years before. His sense of humor and his sincerity is as genuine as his laughter. DJ, Gary and I had a great time and everything about the trip was effortless. We met up with Dennis Webb and Roger Larmer at the rally which only added to the experience. Thinking about this ride always brings a smile to my face and will go down as one of my best memories riding to Sturgis.

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So as Sunday morning rolled around and the weatherman predicting favorable conditions, we gathered with Gary and his wife Charlene and Gary’s nurse Dee, who came along to offer not only moral support but also to monitor his condition for the ride. In this group that gathered, I realized the wide range of lives that can be touched by such a good guy.

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If you’ve read anything I’ve written before, you would know I do some of my best thinking from the seat of my motorcycle. I knew when we pulled out of the parking lot I’d have about 100 miles or so to pull some thoughts together. Sometimes these thoughts can be a mixed bag of emotions, some are reflective, but today it was about being present. Both figuratively and literally present.

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Gary, I can only speak for myself but it was truly an honor to ride with you once again. It was inspiring to see the love and support of your fellow bikers, but also your family. I witnessed the emotions and the power of prayer in the parking lot of a Casey’s. I saw the fellowship with the SFJMC-Kansas City as they wrapped their arms around you. I felt the bond between us when we embraced, and the lump in my throat when we spoke. These things I will never forget. The lives you’ve touched goes beyond the mechanics of the motorcycle – your church family and your community are living proof of that. I know I’m a better man because this path I’m on crossed yours.

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We ride – because that’s what we do. Not always together, but never alone. 

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Mind Over Matter

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So 2015, it’s been nice knowing you. I’m not sure about the “older you get the faster time flies” thing because it seems this year has lasted longer than 365 days. And besides, when did I get old? Who am I kidding…

I know one thing for sure, if how I felt was a true measure to how old I am, I would not be able to buy beer. Of course, I  don’t feel that old. My mind is still telling my body that anything is possible, and it is more mind over matter anyway. Just tell that to the guy behind the counter at the liquor store.

So for 2016 I will make some promises to myself. Not the usual lies I tell myself every new year, but the ones that really, truly matter. Why we always pick the beginning of the year to make these random claims of personal improvements is beyond me, but here I go;

Laughing More – I need a huge belly laugh where the snorts and snot come from my nose. The kind where Diet Coke comes spraying from my mouth like a split radiator hose. Admit it, you want to laugh like that too.

Working on My Health – I know, right? My mind is telling the matter down below everything is fine, but at my age I know better. I need to stretch, walk and eat better for the health of it. Why? It’s the right thing to do and I can only imagine I would feel better. And besides, a nice evening walk gives me plenty of time to think. My motorcycle does the same thing but without all the cardio.

Take Some Time Off – I need this for my mental state. I’m not sure if this is good or bad, but I’m sure it will depend on how I use this time off. Beer and Nacho Doritos or stretch, walk and be active? Mind over matter, right? I also want to take a ride someplace I haven’t been on my motorcycle. Maybe to the southwest. That’s where Nacho Doritos are made right?

Be a Better Listener – Pay attention and be present daily. Or better yet, shut up and let people talk. I have been told I’m a good listener and I have the stories to back this up. I have perfect strangers tell me things they may not tell anyone else. It must be the perfectly timed concerned nod I give.

Sunrise and Sunsets – I talk a lot about my morning and evening rides on my motorcycle reflecting on how beautiful these are and how each one is unique and beautiful in its own way. I also know others are looking at them too from their own perspective and vantage point, but from now on I’m going to appreciate the beauty of both the visual and spiritual sides of these daily wonders. The beauty as it happens and how and why it happens, and in turn, give thanks each day for this amazing gift.

Appreciate – So much wasted energy is given to those things we cannot change and I will dedicate this energy to appreciating all that is around me. I will also communicate my appreciation to those who are important to me. I hope you don’t mind, because this matters to me. Get it?

One thing is for sure, every day is a gift and there isn’t any point in wasting it. Make the most of your time spent on this earth and give it all you have while making a positive difference in someone else’s life.

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