If you’ve wondered about the lack of updates this week, I simply haven’t felt much like writing.
Rich’s Ride lost a member of the family on Monday.
Monte joined us at age 2 in 2006. If you’ve followed along for a while you know Monte was my service dog. For most of those years, Monte and I haven’t been far apart.
Monte, Becky, and I were the team of Rich’s Ride. Monte trotted along beside the bike for the first two miles of our 1500-mile Mississippi River journey in 2011, and he’s been part of every mile of every tour. A bike ride couldn’t begin until he and I rolled 2-3 miles together. Then he’d jump in the car, hang his goofy head out the window, and laugh at me while he enjoyed the air conditioning.
He was even a writer. His guest blogs were often the most read and shared of all our articles, and that didn’t even offend me.
Everywhere we went, his floppy ears and wagging tail brought folks into the circle. They came to scratch his head, usually muttering, “I know he’s working…I’m not supposed to pet him, right?” and stayed to hear our story. They didn’t realize Monte’s primary purpose in life was “80-lb people magnet.”
I’m trying to picture Monte right now in a place with unlimited dog biscuits and endless frisbees to retrieve. I’m glad he no longer struggles simply to stand and wobble painfully across the floor.
Rich’s Ride won’t be the same without Monte. You don’t lose a member of the family and just move forward as if nothing happened. But we have to move forward, because this thing is about something bigger than the three of us doing bike rides.
I said this at the beginning: Rich’s Ride was never about Rich riding a bike. Monte knew that…he didn’t care if we rode bikes or chased tennis balls or just hung out. He just wanted to be with us, regardless of the activity.
Rich’s Ride, and now the FREEDOM TOUR, has always been about a community doing what we can to follow Jesus on a journey of hope. And next to love, hope is the most powerful force in the universe. So when moving forward seems impossible, there’s always this reminder:
HOPE changes what’s possible.
P.S. I dug through the archives and read some of Monte’s wisdom. If you’re interested, you can see all of Monte’s articles here.