Some closing thoughts from COS 2015 Day 3
Day 3 was our ride from Selma to the Mississippi line and ending in York, Alabama. After Saturday’s ride of dodging tornadoes, rain, battling gusty head winds, and some grueling hills, Sunday was looking like a gravy kind of ride. Basically, a relatively easy 100 miles. Only a few hills and head winds at only 5-6mph.
Heat was our only factor. Our water bottles could not stay cold after about 45 minutes so stopping just to ice down was a necessity.
One of the highlights of the Selma ride is crossing the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma. Only six weeks ago was the 50th anniversary of the Selma to Montgomery march for voting rights. An iconic landmark, it reminds us and humbles us to the struggles we still have for social justice. Scripture calls us to side with those who are marginalized, disregarded, and taken disadvantage of. We are called to suffer with those who suffer, the true meaning of compassion. Jesus gave us a model of washing feet and revealing our allegiance to Him by laying down our lives for others and being an active example of sacrificial love.
So, after devotion and a prayer from Pastor Steve Kopp, off we were with well paved four lane roads, good conversation, and ready to complete our journey. Passing through Union Town is always interesting and reveals what happens when a community no longer has a stream of economic development and vision. With most of the population being elderly, there is really no way to leave as their homes will not sell in order to create a flow of funds to relocate. “Stuck” is the word of choice. Yet, fifteen miles down the road is an example of hope. Demopolis, although a small town has hope, economic development, camaraderie, and a solid integrated school system. You feel safe in Demopolis.
From Demopolis to the state line on Highway 80, it is wide open country. This was the most difficult part of our ride for the day. Although beautiful once you get to the top, the bridge over the Tombigbee in Demopolis is a formidable challenge. And then comes the hills into Cuba. Five long, grueling climbs and then one more hill before getting to Highway 11 and the smell of the finish.
We completed our ride in York and then shuttled over to Livingston UMC where we were provided with a great dinner before our ride back to Auburn. Thanks to Gail and Ron Baughman. Rev. Gail is the pastor of Livingston UMC and Ron is a retired COL who knows ton about construction and loves to lead volunteer groups.
Lessons are valuable…ones that come to mind. Service. Perseverance. Teamwork. I could not complete this without the help of others. Our riders, the support drivers, the churches and businesses and of course our individual sponsors giving the necessary funds, make one large network of love. So, thanks to a great ride and another Cycle of Service completed. Now, the real work of home repair, loving children, and loving our neighbors continue.
The story behind this picture: Our heart, thoughts, and prayers go out to Oliver Crowson. Oliver is a young boy with a brain tumor and going through treatment. His dad and our friend, Chase, who is an alumni of Auburn, rode with us for the first few years of COS. Chase hopes to join us in the future but his time is currently committed to his son’s treatment and on the day of this ride, there was a 5k happening in Oliver’s behalf to help raise funds for his treatment. Children, Oliver’s age, from our church made these bibs and decorated them. We are sending them to Chase and Oliver to let their family know of our love and support of them!