Honestly, I never thought of stopping nor turning back. But 450 miles of misery to start the motorcycle trip did wear on me. I’d pulled out of my garage about 5:15 in the morning, and slogged through 80 miles of metropolitan Los Angeles before meeting Mick and Brad at Cajon Pass on I-15. Metro freeway does not qualify as my favored mode. But the metro yielded to desert and desert brought heat and by the time we got to Vegas the bike’s thermometer bumped 100. 11AM.
Lunch at In-and-Out cooled us a bit, but the temp had risen to 105, with 170 miles to go. The temp climbed with the altitude until it maxed at 109. 30 miles from Cedar City it began to cool, and the 99 felt almost chilly. Note the almost. Our motel’s cool pool finished lowering our body temps, and we walked to a nice café next door for dinner.
That night we needed to determine our route to meet Jerry and Todd in Richfield UT, about 100 miles north. Needing to escape the interstate, we got intrigued by Hwy. 14, 41 miles of mountain roads before hitting Hwy. 89. We gambled the temp wouldn’t be bad, but we missed seeing the pass of 9, 896’. Before too long, we stopped to put on more gear to handle the cold, which soon dropped to 36. 73 less than just the day before. Mick’s face almost froze and my fingers were numb.
But. It was totally worth it. Still drained from the day before, almost frozen, we were nontheless captivated by the rocky and multicolored cliffs, the lush forests and meadows, the beautiful pale green of aspen, and the vistas as we crested a hill with wide, green valleys below.
So, what’s the hook for spiritual formation? Those two days provided a metaphor for spiritual living—some pain, some joy. Some blah, some beauty. Expect that. Don’t expect that either will be all you experience. Don’t get too discouraged by the misery—it won’t last. Don’t get to excited by the beauty—it won’t last either.
Endure the difficult. Enjoy the pleasure. And realize that’s life. Now, this next line is hard to write. Just as surely as God created that gorgeous country around Hwy. 14, he also created the stark landscape around I-15. Both shout, or at least whisper, that a magnificent creator designed it all. Let’s try to enjoy as much of his grace as we can, OK?
Kick Starting the Discussion
Have you experienced that blend of agony and ecstasy from life? Does one ratio seem to dominate in your life? How do you typically respond to both states? Do you sometimes go to the extremes of excitement or misery? Do you need to find a balance? How can you do that?