Am I insane?

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This is not me! I’m not THAT insane.

More than one person has asked me, “Are you insane?!” when I’ve shared my plans for a solo multi-day bicycle tour up the California coast.  That’s O.K. – If it didn’t seem a little bit crazy, what would be the attraction? Right?

Actually, people who wonder about my sanity have a medical opinion to back them up.  Several years ago, when I was training for the Ironman Triathlon, I went to visit my family doctor in Greenville, Ohio to get his OK.  When I told Doc Brown about my plans, and my training regimen, he literally wrote, “You’re nuts!”  in my chart.  To emphasize the point, he showed me as he circled the comment.  I guess he concluded that my heart was sound even if he thought my head was soft, because he gave me clearance to proceed.  I then went on to complete the inaugural Duke Blue Devil Ironman Triathlon in the fall of 2002.

Then, as now, I’m not only hoping to press myself to my physical limits, but to go beyond them.  While this bicycle tour up the California coast is a physical challenge, for me the ride is also a spiritual journey.  While going beyond my physical limits means that I will have to depend on G-d for the ability to endure, that is not the real spiritual aspect of this ride.  What I hope to accomplish along California Coast Highway 1 is the emptying of myself – what I call ‘getting beyond myself’ – that will allow me to be  receptive to hearing the Voice of G-d.

So, as generations of believers before me have gone on pilgrimages to leave behind the distractions of life, I, too, leave behind the worries of work and world to get ‘beyond myself’ and see what spiritual insights the Good L-rd may have for me.  I hope to find renewal in body, mind and spirit as well as new direction for my ministry.

So despite what Dr. Brown wrote in my chart, I am not nuts. Not taking time for Sabbath rest and renewal, continuing on and on without pause or repositioning, backsliding into my pattern of work-a-holism and neglect of self and family, now that’s insane!

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Author: pastortoddhammond

I have been a parish minister nearly 30 years and have had the privilege of pastoring from Maine to California. I began serving the Agape Church of the Brethren in Fort Wayne, Indiana at the end of 2014.

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