37 months, 19 days.

It seems like so long ago, even as I look at the time elapsed and realize that it really has not been all that long. So much has changed in my life in those brief months that indeed it feels like a lifetime has passed.

I have a new job, one that I have worked for over 16 months now, a job that probably rescued me from some suffering and protected me from financial ruin. The position is a great fit for me, with a company that encourages and recognizes employees, promotes a positive culture. I was nominated by my peers recently as employee of the month, then selected for that honor by management. After working 25 years for a company that used me up, then worked five years for a company that was just as dysfunctional in it’s own unique way, I have journeyed in my work life to a place and a job that I find very satisfying. Honestly, 2020 was not much of a challenge to me, largely because I didn’t have to worry about my job, about my boss, wasn’t wearing a target on my back.

Work isn’t my life, though, even though a large amount of my time and energy goes towards my work. Looking at the changes to my employment and the relatively short amount of time that has passed since the latest changes, that too seems like another lifetime. It was, I guess. Each job I have had carries its own unique memories. Many are a capsule, a stop along the journey I am on.

And that’s really it. Life is a journey, with a beginning and a destination that I can’t quite yet see. As a bicyclist who has completed many a tour, I know that most rides seem much shorter when I break them down into segments. When I look at my life, I see those segments in my life —

*a childhood spent in several places (but mostly in the same little town)

*college in southwest Missouri, my first job as a youth minister in a small town near the Lake of the Ozarks

*a year back at home with my parents

*another job at a church in Illinois

*a job as a restaurant manager that brought me to the Chicago area and where I met up with friends who I helped start a church in Naperville (one of my favorite segments along the journey)

*marriage and that first little one bedroom apartment, and the beginning of my fascination with riding bicycles

*my first house, where my two children were born and raised. It was the longest segment of my journey so far, and the part of my journey that turned sharply uphill

*separation, then divorce after 25 years of marriage. It was during this part of my journey that I had to rely on friends and family to keep me going… just like a good bike ride.

The most recent segment was those 37 months. What an odd part of my journey it has been! The separation before the divorce, a period of 7 months, was a very dark time, a time that was painful yet also a huge relief from pain at the same time. Comparing it to a ride, it’s that point where your body starts saying no and a cramp or two comes on, but my brain knows that pushing through that pain will bring a satisfying reward. I pushed through it, tried to learn as much as I could about myself while I was doing that. It has been during this time when I have been glad that I have friends to share the journey with. I think that has been what has brought back the enjoyment of the journey. I am pretty sure those friends are going to be with me the rest of the way.

I feel like another segment of my life’s journey is just beginning. Things are changing, getting better. After making it through the hard time, climbed the tough stuff, I feel like I am recovered and looking at a smoother part of the journey. How long it is to the finish (if there is one), I don’t know. As someone who believes in God, I have to think that the hardest part of the journey is getting to what seems like the end… and then coming to the part of the ride that is an eternal tailwind (and with a new, body/bike as well).