The Ride Across America

Donald Miller

A month ago, I finished a ride across America with sixteen other cyclists. You can read the archived blog I kept while on the ride here. In total, we rode more than 3,000 miles from the pier in Santa Monica, California to the shores of Delaware.

Though we only completed the trip weeks ago, it feels as though years have passed since we rode our bikes into the Atlantic.

Now that I am back at work, that is, traveling, in meetings, trying to get the book finished, I miss the days when all I had to do was wake up and ride my bike. I miss the challenge of wondering whether I was going to make it in that day, and of course I miss the team. We became a family on the ride. If you want to bond with your friends, do something very hard with them, something that you won’t be able to do alone.

I learned a great deal about America in the seven weeks we spent crossing the country. I learned America is good, not as wealthy as you might think, kind hearted and big hearted. I learned that small towns are dying and I wondered what we could do to bring them back. I learned we work very hard, and that our heart is still industry and agriculture. The generosity of the average American is astounding. The idea we are divided or opinionated is something propagated by the media to sell advertising, and adhered to by those I would consider to be ignorant. I don’t mean that as an insult, I simply mean ignorance in the way a child is ignorant of spelling before they learn to read. I think the inability to think rationally begins when we believe we know more than we are actually capable of knowing, and do not think objectively because our identities are tied to our ideas.

We went to church nearly every Sunday on the trip. The people, especially the staff, the pastors and their families were unbelievably kind and thoughtful. They served us when we were very tired and couldn’t really give them much in return. I saw Christ in them, that is for sure. I thought hard about how we do church in America, an idea I honestly haven’t given much thought to in years. I started to find it odd that the central piece of every church service we attended was a 40-minute lecture. It made me wonder if the evangelical church didn’t believe the way to approach God was through the intellect. I wondered about Anglican and Catholic tradition, both of which have short sermons that one would hardly think of as the center of the service. The main aspect of both those services is the Eucharist. Nevertheless, I loved the people in the churches we visited and it was especially great to visit so many small churches in so many small towns.

When I got back from the trip, I put this little video together as a way of saying thank you to the Ride:Well team. The team saw it weeks ago, but I wanted to share it with you. I think it sums up the way I feel about the team and the way I feel about the trip very well. I needed the trip to help me remember how much i love to….

Donald Miller

Donald Miller

Donald Miller is all about story. He's helped thousands overcome a sense of meaninglessness by helping them create their Storyline life plan. If you're struggling with a sense of meaningless, pick up Storyline today. After studying story for years and successfully using the elements of story to engage customers, Don created StoryBrand, a process any business owner or marketing team can go through to create a communication script that will increase sales. Don is also the creator of the Storyline Productivity Schedule, a free daily schedule using modern psychology to increase a person's productivity. Don believes getting your story straight changes everything. Follow Don on Twitter (@donaldmiller). To read more of his posts on the Storyline Blog, click here.

  • http://www.SpiritualKlutz.com Spiritual Klutz

    Dear Don,

    I am writing to apologize to you. About a year ago, I started reading your blog, enjoyed it, and commented occasionally. Eventually, my comments became antagonistic and unnecessarily argumentative. Instead of engaging in thoughtful debate, I began habitually trying to one-up you. I’m ashamed to admit I felt a great sense of pride when I believed I had successfully done so.

    This week, I got published at Boundless and one of their bloggers wrote a follow-up about my piece (http://www.boundlessline.org/2011/08/real-people.html). The comments section went into nuclear meltdown as people – especially guys – angrily diced my article to pieces. When I tried to engage in the discussion, it only provided more material for them to deride. It was sickening, literally, and overwhelming.

    By the end of the day, I was disgusted – not only with the experience in the comments section at Boundless – I was disgusted with myself. I remembered the way I interacted with your comment format last year, and I saw my wrong very clearly. I ask you to please forgive me for my unkindness to you.

    Thank you.

    JR

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