Sore muscles and peaceful thoughts

This time of year, I can always tell it is Sunday evening by the way I feel. Stiff back. achy muscles, and little energy means that the little red headed sweetheart and I have spent the weekend working on some household project or yard work, prepping for the warm months ahead. And the past few days were no different. Over the last 48 hours we have re-built our back gate (the old one was falling down and held up by pavers and hope), installed the new TVs in the boys rooms, cleaned out the garage, set up patio furniture, and put up the swing and arbor by the fire pit. Mix in a run to Lowes, dog sitting for the Burnham's, and running John-Michael all over Columbus to satisfy his social calendar, and it was a jam packed 2 days. Even the great sense of accomplishment I feel with my to do list being all checked off cannot change the fact that I am a very worn out Buckeye Mike, ready to find my big comfy bed and call it a weekend. 

Of course, thinking back 7 days, my outlook and reasons for being drained were completely different. A week ago right now, I was preparing to hit the road for part 2 of an epic 80 hour, 4000 mile sprint that had already seen my brother Ralph and I cross 8 states and 3 time zones to get to his young son Gage. Once we strapped him in, we would begin the return trip home.

The trip itself was long. Arduous. Exhausting. I found myself behind the wheel for a majority of the trip, but that was ok by me. My job was too be a driver, to help my friend get his son back home. So on the road back, when he was nogt only physically drained, but mentally spent as well, I took the wheel and ticked off the miles. 26 of the 33 hours back, with only an hour or two of real sleep mixed in. But that marathon drive was just one of the many reasons I am grateful to have experienced this epic journey.

During the trip, I got to go places and see things I have never seen. The Dallas skyline, dude ranches in West Texas, the terrain in Arizona and New Mexico just to name a few. The lights of Mexico across I-10 in El Paso illuminated the night sky. We got poured on all the way through Arkansas on the way back, limiting the visibility of the gorgeous landscape that state has to offer.  And Memphis, Tennessee offered a wonderful welcome and tremendous tribute to Elvis Presley, BB King, and Blues Music everywhere. All new and vibrant memories that I am grateful  have.

As much as those moments are indelibly etched in my memory, there were other times during the trip that I am equally thankful for.They are the moments I look forward to on any trip. The moments that I can get lost in thought and reflect on where I am and where I want to be. I find driving to be very therapeutic, and have for as long as I can remember. It was during my drive to Minnesota in 2008 that I realized how unhappy I was then. Then, during many trips to Illinois the same year, I realized that my marriage had been over for a very long time. And it was during my multiple jaunts to Nashville in 2010 that I began rebuild a life that had come crashing down around me twice in two years. 

As I put the miles behind me, I thought about the reasons I was in that car. My friend, sleeping in the passenger seat next to me, was hurting. This isn't what he had planned. His life is not where he thought it would be. We had talked about it before he dozed off, and I had given him the best advice I can. Pray, turn it over to God, and let him take over. I had done that myself not long ago, and it had made all the difference in the world. The proof was in the drive.

Unlike the past, when thoughts of the road were scary and chaos filled, my thoughts were very clear as I drove that night. I was headed to only place I have ever been sure I belong. Back to a sweetheart who truly loves me, my 3 amazing sons, and my home. And I could not get there fast enough.

Tonight, a week removed from our cross country trek, I am grateful as I have ever been. My beautiful wife is already half asleep in the bed beside me. My 3 sons are upstairs in their rooms, settled in for the night. And I am ready to close the book on another productive weekend.

Day # 419. Sore muscles and all, it is good to be me!


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