I could reflect on any number of events I've experienced this past week since the car accident.
We have been on the road almost 7 weeks and THINGS HAVE CHANGED since day 1 and things have changed since day 31. I am constantly aware that there are 3 of us on this team, together every day and every turn, but also dozens of us biking cross-country on these same roads, thousands of us driving through towns, billions of us breathing the same air and making it through the same day.
One realization that struck me within the first week or two is that "what we're doing" (on one level) is immediately obvious when we're on the road. When we roll up to a gas station in our bike clothes, bikes fully loaded, snacking like fiends, people stop and ask, "where are you going?" and they know it's far. Their responses when we tell them "we're going coast to coast" range from "WHAT" to "holy crap" to (my personal favorite) "well I won't keep you then". They have offered countless blessings of safety, admiration, encouragement, concern, sometimes a place to stay and sometimes even money.
The full realization I had was that occasionally we are not in our bike clothes and we are not carrying our bikes, and at those times no one can tell "what we're doing." When I turned that around I saw that every day we see and meet people and we don't know what they're doing. We (read: people) don't wear signs that say "I'm doing something awesome" or "I'm going through something hard" or "I need help" or "I would join the revolution if I saw it happening".
I know that we are learning and growing every day because I can see it happening but I can only specifically speak for myself. This is the hardest thing I've ever done. You may be able to see and guess that what I'm doing is hard, physically. I am really working every day, not just pumping my legs and lungs; I'm fighting with my own brain, I'm rationing what energy I have left from pedaling into killing self-doubt, into attempting to let my life speak even on this trip that sometimes feels separate from "normal life", I'm trying to soothe my poor confused body, I'm trying to be healthy when the odds are against me, I'm living in this broken world, remembering the beautiful creatures who live on it, even as I travel across it on my bicycle.
That's a lot, by the way. I didn't think about all the ways in which this would be hard when I committed to going on this trip, much like people who find out what we're doing and immediately say "I could never do that". I think they are mostly imagining the physical part. Guess what, you can do it if you want to. You might not want to (that's fair). But don't sell yourself short of doing something hard, chances are you're already doing something hard. Also remember, please, that we're not wearing signs. Our fellow humans are every one of them on journeys no matter what they're not physically carrying.
Of all the lessons I've learned so far on this trip, I plan on working hard after it's over to remember this one everyday.