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God has voice mail?

Mike O

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Life has been a bit stressfull lately.


Yesterday I attended a funeral service for my neighbor who passed away due to a brain aneurysm (some of you may recall a police officer friend of mine who was killed last year on his motorcycle by a drunk driver - this was his mother - it's been a tough year for John Sr). That, coupled with the routine stresses from work, and I really needed to do some introspection. I find if I can just get some time alone; some solitude; remove the distractions; and just plain clear my head this allows me to stop worrying and start smiling.


Now anytime I lose someone in my life, that introspection inevitably leaves me leaning on my faith (no this isn't a religious rant - it's a ride tale!). Faith is a funny thing. We have faith in our ability to properly judge a line through a quick curve. We see faith in little children when they trust the swing as it glides back and forth. So, when I need a little something extra to lean on, when I engage in a bit of introspection; a little faith, I dial the Man upstairs. I ask him to point me in a different direction. Over the years, I've always felt a bit better after that phone call.


So this morning, I dial and something very unusual happens: I get the following message (with the lofty, echoe-y background just like you'd expect from the Man):







So, this morning, when I need a little extra help, I give Him a jingle and …. I GET HIS VOICE MAIL…??? Since when did He go high-tech? (What's next? Angels with carbon-fibre wings?)


This is not supposed to happen. Usually, there's some sign, something you get steered towards; a suggestion Bernie makes; I've always TRUSTED that a call to the Man will be heard immediately. Voice Mail? I needed some help, some hints…a good spin in the right direction. And He's hopped aboard his cycle for a ride. That explains why things have been the way the have recently.


So, I head into the office, just another day...contracts, product evolution, employees absent...But I head to the computer digging deap into research, but just not being able to focus.


I keep replaying that voice mail "I CAN'T ANSWER YOUR REQUEST RIGHT NOW. TODAY, I'VE DECIDED TO GO FOR A MOTORCYCLE RIDE." An email arrives and I temporarily re-focus. 10 a.m. rolls by, and the presentation I've been working on is coming to a completion point. I check another vendor's spec; calculate some cost/performance stuff...




Dammit, I've got to concentrate. 1130a and I'm thinking I've got to get this finished and distributed to the staff, when all of the sudden, it hits me. The Man DID answer. He did steer me. I just didn't recognize it! The heck with the preso, 401k, and all the other less important stuff. I grab my riding gear and head out.


Now if I were Him, where would I head on a 75deg sunny afternoon. And I wonder which direction he might be going? So I climb on and just point the bike and turn when it feels right to turn a particular direction. A turn here, and a turn there, and I'm now headed through Boulder, But then it's some time before I have any notion to turn again. That is, until I get to Lyons and I head west. I think I know where I'm headed and I understand how this place might have been chosen by Him for a Weds afternoon ride.




I've developed a riding rhythm slicing through the canyons until I arrive at the heart of Estes. I've been to Estes Park more times than I can count, but for some reason, the ride is pure bliss this afternoon. Not many cars on the road (tourist season is about over and no weekend looky-loos).




And Lake Estes is solitude with a cloud or two just providing some distant shade, I'm sure.




Thinking I may have reached my destination, but I press on. But, no turns; just riding ahead past The Standley Hotel (I stop and snap a photo - this is the place Bernie and I spent our honeymoon. At 21 years old, I'd met the woman of my life and learned how to dial room service - they don't have that in Motel 6).




I continue ahead, and sure enough, I arrive at the entrance to Rocky Mountain National Park. It's beautiful this afternoon. The sun is warming the mountain side and even at 7500 feet, it's still 75deg. Glancing at the landscape, I can see that the aspen have begun to turn.




Another couple of weeks and the moutains will be gold and red (yes, aspen turn red because of higher concentrations of iron in the soil). The sky is as blue as I've seen it and clear to view for miles. A single cloud rests above a distant moutain top. Maybe that's where He's been riding?




I come to a fork in the road and glance off to my left and see it headed up and towards a grove of trees. It looks as though they're just trying to hang on to the last deep green of the summer. But the golds are peeking through here as well. Another few weeks and you'll be able to see around this bend from much further away.




Near the crest of the hill, I stop and look around. While the aspen provide clues as to the change in season, the top of the mountain provides real evidence that winter approaches quickly at these elevations. That's a dusting of FRESH snow up top.




The cloud I noticed before seems to appear in every direction I look. Now maybe it's just coincidence or that I've completely lost my bearings...but I don't care. I've forgotten about work, and a smile has returned. This is one of those occasions where if I lose, I still win.




I head towards to the direction of the cloud and the road heads toward Fall River pass. Several folks are standing in the field off the road painting pictures of this same landscape (I wonder if they included the cloud?)




And others are hiking next to a stream. I stop and listen. In this park, on a sunny Wednesday afternoon, with hardly anyone else around, you can hear the stream water splash off the rocks. You can almost make out the difference in the size of the rocks by the slap of the water against the surface of the stone. This quiet never sounded so good!




At this point, I decided to ditch the helmet. I so enjoyed the rush of cool air around my head and the panoramic difference was worth sacraficing a bit of safety. ATGATT? Not today; not here and now. They say the difference between riding in a car and riding on a motorcycle is that in a car you "watch the movie" while on a bike "you're in the movie"'. Sans helmet, I could really appreciate the feeling. And the road ahead was just too tempting to ignore.




After navigating through the narrow, one-way road, I came upon a picnic area. Not many folks there so I had my choice of prime real estate. I sat at this spot for some time. I watched as the aspen fluttered in the breeze. The sun was falling to my right and through the tree I caught rays of sunshine, that with the aspen leaves help, provided a natural strobe light.




And then I realized His voice mail, really wasn't voice mail at all. It was a message. And a gentle but firm push towards one of my favorite places on earth. It felt like it was all mine on a day where I almost had the place to myself.




And there was that cloud again...




With my helmet off, I heard something off in the distance; in the valley below. I pulled over, stopped and hit the kill switch. Quiet again...and then I heard it once more. Bugling. A lone elk calling for his family. In this valley, his voice carried for miles. I searched wishing I had brought binoculars, since I couldn't make out where he might be.




Heading back down the road, I heard more elk bugling. And then, I spotted part of the herd. There, under a stand of trees, they lay in the shade (probably a bit warm for them today as well). They let me take their pictures, trusting I wouldn't get to close.




It's another hint of fall and winter approaching. The elk are headed down from the high pastures to lower elevations.





And so it goes. I head out of the park. My introspection complete in the heart of the most beautiful place on earth. I could close with some witty remark about life throwing you a curve ball, lemons and lemonade, or some other such analogy, but the purpose of this ride tale was to illustrate that when you think someone has ignored you, they may instead have delivered a message in a new, but ever important way. No, I never did spot Him on his bike, but that cloud seemed to hover about in the oddest fashion.




Getting voice mail from God, ain't so bad after all, nor is an occasional cloud.


Mike O

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Amen, brother! thumbsup.gif


Beautiful tale. What a way to recharge the batteries. Oh, and I wouldn't be surprised if you were riding pillion on His motorcycle that day!!! eek.gif

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Thanks for that incredible "message." As you said, you may not always get what you expected or wanted "to hear" from your request, but most of the time it's what you NEED!!!


Ride safe!

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Thanks Mike, this really helps. My wife's not working and I have been outta work now for 9 months, and hope, or faith is dwindling here. It's getting harder to look our 4-year-old in the eye and make like everythings fine. Your pics, and message have helped. Thanks eh. If you have HIS number, perhaps you can pm me smile.gif

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I don't read many ride tales here, too little time to do so. But you catchy title compelled me to open this one.


Wonderful pictures! clap.gif


Clever "angle" too. grin.gif



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Wheels Rollin'
I find if I can just get some time alone; some solitude; remove the distractions; and just plain clear my head this allows me to stop worrying and start smiling.


In one sentence, Mike, you pretty much summed it up for me and my own beat-a-path-to-the-garage-and-jump-on-my-bike routine when faced with life's occasional trials and tribulations, not so much to run away from any of it as some would accuse me of doing, but, as you've suggested, allowing myself a few moments of solitude and introspection... An' OK -- I know it's a hokey line from a marketing tag line you'll undoubtedly recognize from a product no one would ever admit to using, but... After getting away for a ride like the one you've photographed, I do indeed "... feel positively human again..."


-- Bill


P.S. An' thanks for the photos too... I was just there this past April myself, sans RT unfortunately, but the warmth of the memory remains...

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Mike, great pics and a heartfelt post. More than a few times I as well have "hit the road" when I needed it.


Thanks for sharing. The universe does answer, when we listen.



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