Back in 1983, I hitch-hiked from Greece back to Germany, where I was an undergraduate student. I both loved and hated hitching rides with people. I hated it because I was forced to do it, too poor to afford train fare. Standing on the side of the road, breathing in exhaust as car after car passed me by. It was depressing.
But then that magical moment would always come to pass – a car would slow down and stop. They’d look me over, I’d jump in, and off we’d go. I can’t tell you how many fascinating conversations I had with people along the way, people who would sometimes offer me a beer or even invite me to stay a night in their home.
I thought about those youthful adventures when I came up with the idea of this bike trip, now five years ago. Something magical happens when you depend on the kindness of strangers – a human connection is forged; your vulnerability and your utter insufficiency are exposed and embraced.
On a bicycle, you have no airbags, no steel cage around you. When it rains, you get wet. But more important, you need other people. You definitely need car drivers to be considerate and pass you with care. But on longer trips, like our ride to Washington, you need people to feed and to house you.
The magic of this bike trip is based on that human need and loving response. As hard as it is every year to ask for food, shelter and donations, the generosity of others makes it all worthwhile. Ten riders will be going part or all the way to DC this year, but we would be lost if not for the seven congregations and dozens of individuals along the way who make our trip possible. We feel embraced by the nearly 100 people who donate and the thousands who follow the progress of our trip.
I believe there is a fundamental truth here: that God made us vulnerable and imperfect so that Continue reading