In light of reflecting on how the Ride:Well Tour has impacted me so much more than I anticipated, I have been thinking about how other trips have done the same... and how that has been different.
With the Ride:Well Tour, I had no idea why I was going. I didn't know the first thing about biking, I didn't know anyone going, and I wasn't entirely sure how I felt going on a cycling trip as the only non-cyclist. At the same time nothing in particular and yet everything I encountered took me away from nearly every comfort zone I knew.
Something about the Ride:Well Tour felt different, though. Maybe it was the cycling thing? Maybe it was that we were all new at the same time, as opposed to usually I'm the newbie and others are more stable? Maybe it was just me in a strange transitional phase of my life, or maybe that is how God wanted me - unprepared so that I wouldn't over-analyze everything and prevent the changes from happening (not that I've analyzed myself to have done that, of course). Whatever it was, this trip was different. And unsafe. And difficult. And wonderful. And exactly where I believe God wanted me to be.
I began to realize this week how much I have grown in significant, meaningful ways this summer, and I have struggled because I don't really know what to do with that. My perspective has shifted, my world view is changing (again), my vocational discernment is all a mess (again)... and yet, I'm content with these changes. (I just wish, as always, I knew where they were leading me! but I know that will come in time.)
This trip was different than any other because usually when I take "epic" trips, I anticipate a great change. Like the community of the R:W team, on these trips I always find amazing folks who from beginning to end are supportive and help me to reflect and meditate and process. People who do more than that... people who become my family and love me even from afar, offering words of kindness and love and affection (thank you, Pete!). China, Australia, South Africa... even England... each of these trips have affected me in ways I could not begin to anticipate, and I carry pieces of them with me in all that I do. Yet in the past this process has looked different than it did this time... perhaps because I had anticipated the growth? That would certainly make the changes a bit easier (at least theoretically) and more certainly more recognizable.
I'm still not sure what made me think the Ride:Well Tour was a good idea for me. I do know that it was right, though - and that I am thankful for it. Processing has indeed begun, and is now proceeding well. The Chicago community of which I am again a part is one that will likely help me to continue processing for days, weeks and months to come. Which seems fitting, in so many ways - that it was a strong community that has had such a strong impact on me, only to rely on another strong community to help me process it all. God intends for us to live in community with one another, and I have never felt that calling as strongly as I have over the past couple of weeks.