A Glance in the Rearview

Camp in the Ocala National Forest on a fall bikepacking trip.

We’re almost there……2020 is just about in the rearview, and many of us couldn’t be more excited.  It’s been quite a year for natural disasters, social unrest, protests, riots, looting, a presidential election that seemed to fall somewhere between an SNL skit and the circus, and this little disease called COVID-19.  Many schools, churches and business are now empty, folks are working from home and quarantine has taken on a whole new meaning.  We’ve lost loved ones, haven’t been able to gather for holidays, birthdays and other celebrations, and have spent enough time on video conferences to last a lifetime.   

But enough of the bad.  How about the good?  Wait, you say, what good could possibly have come out of 2020?  We’ve had opportunities to work together in our local communities and across the nation to lend a hand when disasters strike.  We’ve been forced to reevaluate how we view social and political issues.  Many of us have probably spent more time with our immediate families since March than we have in the last five years!  We’ve increased support for many local businesses who are there to serve their customers and the community.  From where I sit, these are all good things.  

For me personally, I’ve taken a bit of time to evaluate what my creative endeavors mean to me, and what to share.  For the last number of years, I’ve convinced myself that taking the time to write, capture and create was mostly a waste of time for me.  Then one day, while I was encouraging my 7 year old daughter to never stop drawing or writing, the realization hit me like a freight train.  I’m telling her to do the exact opposite of what I have been doing!  What does that tell her?   

In August of 2019, I lost my daddy.  In the spring of 2020, I wrote a song describing the relationship we had, or rather didn’t have, and the impacts on my efforts now as a father.  I lost my grandmama August of 2020.  I wrote a song for her and sang it at her funeral service.  Both of these songs meant a lot to me, and I think they meant something to other folks as well.  

Taking a break from a spin on the bike at Boggy Creek, Nassau County, Florida.

I’ve spent more time on my bike more this year than I have ever before, and focused on being present on the adventure way more than my pace, mileage or anything else.  I’ve even left my Garmin watch at home a number of times and rode without any means of tracking the ride—and had a doggone blast!  I’ve taken up bikepacking, which consumes more of my mind than it should!  How to pack lighter, smarter, and cut down on what I really ‘need’ when I’m out in the woods, an endeavor seemingly unrelated to life in general but one that in reality couldn’t be more applicable.  

I weigh less today than I have in over 20 years, and am in the best physical shape of my life.  I plan to continue to build on this each day going forward, building on a foundation of solid nutrition, core work, mobility, yoga, and strength training.  I’m planning to increase my mileage on the bike each week and train for some longer distance rides over the next few years, taking it slowly and listening to my body.  

I’m finding more and more that God’s grace is all around me, each and every day.  I continue to wrestle my own troubles, and excavate the junk that has built up inside over the years.  The Lord continues to show me the areas I need to let go of and allow Him to work in, and overwhelms me with His mercy, grace and love.  

What about you?  What has 2020 given you?  Let me know in the comments, or in a note of some other Wherever you might be, whatever you might be doing, take a minute to smell the coffee, and soak it all in.  Life is beautiful.  

Until next time, God bless and stay safe. 

“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven…”    Ecclesiastes 3:1  ESV