I can’t believe I just went 62 grueling miles getting from Crescent City, California to Trinidad, California. When I say grueling, I don’t mean huge mountains I had to ride up and down, but more the fact that the road is quite busy, most of the ocean views are blocked by trees, and it rained on me for at least half the trip.
I was feeling quite low, until I rode up to the Turtle Rocks Oceanfront Inn. It’s a small hotel, but the views are breath-taking. As I entered, I overheard a woman arguing with the hotel manager, or at least I presumed he was the hotel manager. This woman had with her, a little shih tzu with a pink bow in its top notch. It was a cute little thing who seemed very well behaved. It wagged its tail as I approached, allowing me to pet it.
The woman screamed at the hotel manager, “YOU SEE, SHE’S A FRIENDLY DOG AND WOULDN’T HURT A FLEA! YOUR AD SAYS THIS IS A PET FRIENDLY PLACE.”
The hotel manager was having nothing to do with the woman. I could see that the woman was reaching her limit, so I decided to step in and tell the manager that she was right.
“Sir,” I said, “if you go to the Trinidad California Chamber of Commerce website, it specifically says that the Turtle Rocks Oceanfront Inn is pet friendly. May I suggest you log on and see for yourself?”
The manager was none too happy with me, but he did go to his office, shut the door, why? I’m not sure, maybe only to get himself calmed down. I stood there with this lady who had picked up Muffin, as I quickly learned was the dog’s name, and thanked me for verifying that she was not insane.
The manager returned after a few minutes, apologized, and then told the front desk clerk to honor the woman’s reservation, but that she’d have to pay a $100 deposit. The woman didn’t seem bothered by the extra expense. It was obvious that Muffin was much more than just a dog to this woman.
My check-in experience was much less dramatic, and soon I found myself in my own little suite. The deck looked out onto a sea lion colony. I stood there for several minutes watching and listening. I began to wonder how many people had stayed her who ended up complaining about the growling noises these creatures make. I found it all so fascinating. The crashing ocean waves were much louder than those sea lions, but I knew from past experience, that these sounds would lull me to sleep that night.
I get cleaned up fully expecting to want a nap from my long ride, but the low I was feeling riding into town had vanished and was replaced with an exceptional high. I head into town and tour their museum, a couple of other local businesses, then ate lunch at the Larrupin Café. Life couldn’t be better at that very moment.
But the moment would be brief when I heard some locals talking about a young couple who had recently gone off hiking along the beach area forgetting to keep track of when high tide happened that day. They were trapped in a remote area of the beach as the waters continued to rise. Unfortunately, they were both caught in a rip tide and drowned. My heart went out to their families. I said a quick prayer for the repose of their souls. I wondered how God could allow such a thing happen to such a young couple at the beginning of their life. Then I remembered that God gives us choices in life, and if we choose to live our life on the edge, sometimes bad things happen.
After a fabulous lunch, I headed back to the inn to get some rest. I knew my stay in Trinidad would be short, and after such a long trip, I knew I’d need to get to bed early. I was thrilled that this inn served a free full breakfast in the morning. Saving some money always brings a bit of a high to me. Life was good again.
And in my real world, I’m faced with highs and lows daily. I think we all do, but I try to focus more on the highs. It keeps my mind clearer, and allows me to keep God first in my life. I know God is always there, especially when I’m at a low point. I feel like He wants us to appreciate all that He has given to us, things that give us that Godly high.
I know I have many things in my life that I appreciate, too many to record here in this blog, but I’m also aware of all the people out there that have so little in their lives; people like the clients Catholic Charities sees daily. I wonder if they have anything in their lives they can appreciate, or if the harshness of a bad economy and maybe a few poor choices in life keep them from seeing the good that is around them.
I know many of them do thank those who help them with various life issues, so that’s probably something they are appreciative of. But then I wonder how long their high from the help they receive from Catholic Charities lasts. It would be easy for me to sit before my computer preaching to them how they need to let go and let God, but I don’t think that would be fair of me. I don’t know what their lives are like and just how bad things might be.
I’m not here to judge them, but I do think I know what it’s like to hit rock bottom. Back in the mid 80’s I reached a very low point in my life where I actually thought about ending it all. It was the worst fifteen seconds of my life. Yes, it only lasted fifteen seconds, but it changed my life forever. It was then, at that lowest point, when I decided it was up to me to make something of myself, to pick myself up and get back to living, to let go and let God.
I prayed hard that night for His guidance and support. I shed the overpowering pressure of being broke and embraced it instead. Soon I found my life was on an upswing again despite the fact that I was still broke. I saw the beauty around me, I appreciated my friends and family, and I turned over my lack of income to God. Shortly after that, job offers started coming in and life was good again.
About five years later, a co-worker commented how upbeat I always was and how she looked up to me. Then she told me she thought of me one Sunday when her minister talked about letting go and letting God. I was floored. I couldn’t believe that I had made an impact in this woman’s life to the point where she thought of me in the context of her minister’s sermon. How honored I felt just then. It’s that feeling I think about when I get to feeling dumpy, fat, or inadequate.
I know that I am exactly who God wants me to be, I’m doing exactly what God wants me doing even on days when things seem to be overwhelming, and that as long as I continue to accept the highs and lows in life, God is pleased with me.
Have I ever come close to getting as low as I did that one fateful night? No, because I know that I have been blessed by the Lord. And I know that some of the lows we have are from God, too. We need those lows to appreciate all that we have; to appreciate the highs. And as I sum up this blog, I can’t help but hum the song from The Bryds “Turn, Turn, Turn” based off that ever popular bible passage Ecclesiastes 3:1-15. How true those words are every day of our lives. There is a time for everything, and it’s up to us to make the best of it.
So when you’re feeling a bit low think about the words from that song or bible passage, and know that God is right there beside you, waiting for you to embrace all that He’s given you. And as always, let’s keep going the distance.