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This past weekend was my second Memorial day weekend as a repurposed single (once again, I am avoiding the D word), the first holiday where I felt like the shock of being repurposed has semi worn off.  I don’t think I will ever be completely used to it as long as I am single.  Truthfully, my life right now is not 100% different than it was before, but it’s obviously not the same.  Holiday weekends have always had riding as a necessary ingredient, the bike that consistent thread in my life besides the faith that holds me together.  If I don’t ride, I don’t feel satisfied and it feels like I missed something.  If I don’t go to church, have a chance to worship and refuel my soul, I sense the emptiness, my spiritual battery lacking the charge it needs.  I don’t need epic experiences to feel complete.  There has been enough epic in the past to give me awesome memories.  Really all that is required is the simple, the sublime.  That’s what long weekends are made for.

This Memorial day weekend, I rode every day but Sunday, worshipped Sunday morning with my daughter.  It was awesome.  Here I sit on Tuesday morning, recharged and actually ready for my work day.

Also a necessity for me is spending time with friends.  My first repurposed Memorial day, last year, was spent alone, a lonely time but a time where I needed to be alone.  That alone time last year was necessary as I needed to confront the deep seated emotions that came out when I was by myself.  Truthfully, at that time I didn’t want to spend time with people, so unusual for me that it was a sign that there was more going on than I cared to admit.

Last year, I rode early on Memorial day with my friend Jeremy, who invited me to spend the rest of the day at a cookout with his wife and family.  I declined respectfully, felt a little guilty for doing so because I know Jeremy wanted to help his friend out.  The day was painful but cleansing.  Last year, I learned a little more about the necessity of facing my demons, then leaning on the God I have always known is there, his presence something I have taken for granted my entire life.  I drew close, discovered that God is right there for me.

You may read that last sentence and pooh pooh me.  Go ahead.  God’s presence is something that is not easily comprehended until you have experienced it.

Sunday was a good day, started at Panera.  My daughter was back in town, so she wanted to continue our tradition of Panera before church.  Nothing is more sublime than the blessing of time with my girl, as well as worship time at church with her.  I proudly paraded her around to show her off after the service was over, glad that she is now willing to let her dad do just that, something my bashful little girl would never let me do years ago.  I was in my element, happy to be able to show so many friends the girl who is now a college grad and bravely trekking off to Turkey for her job.  After church, she excused herself to go have lunch with her mom’s family.  I went home for a quick nap before heading into the city for a party with friends, a roof top party in Wrigleyville where I was the only single man amongst a number a women.  I never had to get my own beer the entire afternoon and evening!

What is it about Chicago people and their dogs?  Nearly every person who came to the party brought their dog with them.  The host had two of her own, one a little yippy Yorkie who boldly nipped my ankle when I walked through the door.  We spent the first part of the party on the first floor deck, shielded from the hot sun on an unusually hot day, then moved up on the roof as dusk settled in.  There is something magical about the city, the view of the city skyline and Willis tower looming close, the sunset reflected.  My friend, the host of the party, is someone I have known since she was in high school and one of the students at the camp I helped staff when I was a church youth pastor.  She and a few of her friends looked me up a few years ago.  Christa proudly announced me to the party goers as her former pastor.  She’s not interested in me romantically, something I appreciate as it gives me a chance to have a female friend who I can relax around.  That helped make the party a good time.  It was also nice to be spoiled.

Friday, I rode some single track trails, came home and relaxed a bit, did some laundry and straightened my place up a little bit.  Saturday, I woke up early, rode the trails again, replaced the ignition coils and spark plugs on my VW, got my hairs cut, then went out with a friend to celebrate our birthdays together (mine is this week, hers was Friday).  We had a nice dinner, walked the flower gardens at Cantigny (it’s close to my place), came back to my place for wine and birthday cake and to exchange presents.  She bought me a four tiered plant stand that has a cool solar powered light on it, plus some pots and plants to go on the stand.  We spent the rest of our evening together potting the flowers and setting them on the stand.  I have quite the flower display on my balcony now — four 36″ cocoa fiber lined window boxes on the balcony rails, three pots of geraniums hanging in between the window boxes, two big pots of petunias and marigolds, six small pots of pansies, petunias, alyssum, and marigolds.  Now I have the four tiered plant stand.

Saturday night was another change from last year.  Last year I was separated and in the throes of the drama of a pending divorce, not able to enjoy female company.  My condo was still in transition, my life mirroring that transition.  What a difference a year makes — and it makes me wonder what nuances another year will bring to my life.

In case you are wondering, she is a special friend, someone who could end up more than a special friend, but for the time being she can only see me on Saturday nights (yes, she is single).  That makes it difficult to have anything truly committed.  That’s fine for me.  I am not ready for that commitment, although it would be nice to have someone who is available to me the rest of the week, something that was painfully obvious yesterday.  Friends invited me over for a Memorial day BBQ.  They hoped I would bring a friend with me, but she declined, saying she would see me Saturday.  It was sad for me and, although I had a nice BBQ with my two friends, I felt a little like a third wheel without a date.  That is one of the things about the repurposed life that sucks.  Even then, my Memorial day was different than last year.  Like I said, I am a social person and it felt good to spend the day with friends.

Oh, and I also got up early yesterday for another ride.  Early rides were necessary all weekend as it was unseasonably hot in the Chicago burbs.

More tidbits —

  1.  On my way home Saturday night, on a county highway out in the middle of nowhere, I came up on a police SUV with its lights on, a car pulled over.  I got in the left lane to give the police car space.. and promptly ran over the deer that had just been hit and was sprawled across the lane I was in.  I was going around 55 mph, ran completely over the deer.  For some miraculous reason, my car wasn’t damaged nor was there any blood or fur on it.
  2. A friend of mine called me for help yesterday afternoon.  He is a triathlete, so he had gone for a swim then a bike ride for his training.  Unfortunately, he had a flat tire and his CO2 cartridge was a dud.  I went to rescue him.  While he was pumping up the tire, I shared some information about one of his crazy exgirlfriends that I had just become privy to (privy to the information, not the girl).  It was both a funny and sad moment.  His ex looked up his ex wife and another ex girlfriend.  Now she is posting on FB with pictures of her with his ex wife and ex fiance.  I told him it’s a good thing he doesn’t have any pets….