My very first non-family member reader (you know who you are) read about me going to the Long Course Camp and told her husband, Doug, about it. During Friday evening's 24 mile "social" ride I found myself riding beside him. As I was plodding along thinking about the weekend, trying not to think about what was coming up...all of the sudden he said, "WOW, this is really beautiful out here!!" I looked up and ...boy was he right!!
We were "out in the county" with some "mountains" and farm land all around us. Seeing the countryside is one thing I have loved about biking. The problem is, more often than not, when I'm training I'm not able to take in my surroundings. It's kind of like trail running. I can't look around when I'm RUNNING...I have to look straight in front of me, planning out my next footfall unless I want to plant my face in the trail instead of my shoe!!
Later when we were "running" in the pitch black night...I was struggling to see the road in front of me. I had almost run over another camper who stopped because she has no night vision. She and I were like the blind leading the blind trying to stay in the middle of the road when all of the sudden Doug came upon us from behind (come to think of it, how did I manage to be in front of him in the first place????). We were walking at that point because running in the complete dark isn't smart. When we got out from under the tree cover Doug said, "WOW...would you just look at that sky!!!" (or something to that effect). I looked up and ...boy was he right!!!
A clear night sky, unadulterated by man-made or moon light, is truly one of my all-time favorite things; I would have completely missed seeing it if not for Doug! By that point I was tired, STARVING, worried about whether or not the kitchen had a microwave and how long it was going to take for my baked potato to cook, wondering if the showers would be hot (because no matter how hot I am, I can not STAND a cold shower!)...not to mention the worry about Saturday that was creeping in my thoughts like an infection...but, once again, Doug's words brought me back to the present moment. Not only that, his words pointed to what was beautiful, what was good, about that specific moment in time.
Saturday when we were a little over half way into our long ride, there was a small group of us (including Doug) who thought we might be lost. We hadn't seen road markings in a LONG time, we thought there was going to be aid at the halfway point (which we had passed seven or so miles back), it was HOT, it looked as though there were storms headed our way, we were all out of water....and no one had a map or a phone. I honestly don't remember Doug's words, but I remember thinking, "at least the positive thinker is here to keep us buoyed!! ((We were not lost, the road was marked and aid, and a GREAT little country store, was only about a mile away....))
tells me not to worry about tomorrow, but I don't always remember.
Several more times during the weekend, Doug made comments that gently
reminded me of this lesson in such an uplifting way that by Sunday I
started thinking, "I'm going to 'be a Doug' and make an effort to find
something POSITIVE to focus on." He was one of many campers who was
pretty much ALWAYS smiling. When worry and concern pushed and pulled at my thoughts like currents on a ship, Doug's words served as anchors reeling me back into the BEAUTY of the moment. His comments reminded me to be fully present in God's creation. Not only that...they reminded me to be THANKFUL for it.
It's hard to be around someone who is negative. It's even harder when that negativity is inside my own head. Being around someone who is positive is like breathing fresh air....a cool breeze on a hot day....refreshing, uplifting, renewing. I certainly do not want to give the impression that Doug was the only positive camper--there were MANY--it just so happened he pointed out things that were personally meaningful to me (the view from the bike and the starry night sky) at the exact right time (when my thoughts were not quite where they needed to be). What a blessing!!! I think the very fact there were several "Dougs" present at the camp allowed me to finish the weekend feeling STRONG. I only hope I was able to "be a Doug" to someone!
Thanks for stopping in...come again soon! :D
***I usually change names in my posts...but Doug is a common name and "being a Doug" is emblazoned in my mind now; I don't think I could have written the post as easily if I had changed the name to something like "being an Earnest" or "being a Wally".