Written by: Joel Derksen, Blue Ride
Day 13 of our journey had us continuing our ride through Montana, 86 miles from the small Western tourist town of Philipsburg, to the booming metropolis of Whitehall. We started out with a steep climb, and by the end of it I found myself riding alone, as the others in my group had all either pulled ahead or fallen back.
From the top of the hill began a spectacular descent, going past a beautiful lake backdropped by snowcapped mountains. As I flew down the road, I couldn’t help but let out a big stupid grin on my face, reveling in the thrill and beauty of the moment. The hymn, “I Sing the Mighty Power of God” started to go through my head, and as the song’s profound lyrics and intricately woven harmonies danced in my ears, I found myself feeling more alive than ever before on this ride.
And then I thought back to yesterday, when I pulled out from a rest stop a bit later than others, and didn’t catch up until the next stop 20 miles later. During this time I found myself frustrated, unhappy that I was stuck riding alone, and grumblingly pushing myself to try and catch the next group up. It was another beautiful ride on a nice sunny day, but yet my experience was so wildly different from my time riding solo today. What struck me as I thought about this was the importance of choosing joy.
How different it is, to delight in the joy of the moment, as opposed to dwelling in the loss of what could be. Choosing joy is something I’ve appreciated not only in my own experience, but also within our group on this ride. When the rain starts pouring and our feet become numb, we choose joy. When our bodies hit their limit and we have to ride in the SAG van, we choose joy. When our tire goes flat and we have to change the tube for the third time that day, again we choose joy.
Over and over, I’ve seen those around me continue to live into the joy of this crazy adventure we’re on together, and what a difference it’s made. We may not always have the best weather, or the food that we want, or a room to ourselves, but when we all choose joy, it makes for a beautiful community.