Day 10 – April 30, 2016

A Walk Across Iowa on the Old Lincoln Highway: Day #10

Mark Minear

Mark Minear

by Mark Minear 

Greetings! Today’s rain reminds me that “the earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein.” And then the psalmist (Psalm 24) goes on to add, “for he founded it upon the seas and established it upon the waters.” You know, at some level we all already know what I am about to write… but a day like this confirms for me again just how little in our lives is under our own control. My wife has often said that “flexibility” is a strong indication of good mental health. (After an initial 1.5 miles today, I had to wait the next five hours due to the rain.) Many of us may be able to admit that the environment around us, including the behaviors of other people, is beyond our ability to control… but some of us may also wander to what extent our own behaviors are under our control.

I believe that I am headed to the word “acceptance”! (The rain today held up the progress of the Walk with only 16.5 miles instead of making it all the way to Carroll. It appears that I will need an extra day to complete the entire journey… hopefully on Wednesday, May 4th!)

I was thinking along the wet, cool, and windy roads today that this has been a good stretch for me as a person. I may attain a better understanding of my limits with this experience of a river-to-river walk. I have been noticing some of the not-so-likeable aspects of my life surfacing… you can guess – a little grumpiness, some impatience, a need for control (see above regarding the weather conditions), self-centeredness, anxiety about others on the journey with me (I worry about others’ safety while walking with me—in fact, I had a couple of co-walkers who reminded me that they were adults and were making the choice to walk with me), etc. It is wonderfully convenient that I have good excuses about such attitudes and behaviors that show themselves… “I’m tired”… “I haven’t had enough calories”… “My feet hurt”… Don’t those seem like reasonable excuses?

So here’s the kicker… perhaps it is a two-fold message to myself. On one hand, it is a matter of acceptance of who I am… weaknesses, warts, and all… and that both excusing myself and beating myself up are not necessarily paths to healing or transformation. So… on the other hand, maybe it is the grace that comes with such acceptance that makes way for possible transformation to become the person who lives more consistently by my values… compassion, caring, generosity, patience, trust, gratitude, letting go, etc. Perhaps the spiritual grace of acceptance without judgment is the very path allows for the awareness and empowerment that we can become more of the people we feel called to be, the people we want to be, the people who live more consistently day-by-day and moment-by-moment according to the values we treasure in our lives.

Did you know that James Edward Moss, a Civil War veteran and admirer of President Lincoln, built a pair of concrete monuments on the corner of his farm about two miles north of Scranton? (See today’s pictures below.) He erected them in 1924, two years after the Lincoln Highway was paved, as Greene County was the first to gravel and then pave its portion of the LH.

Today I met Nhan and Ora at the Heartland Coffee and Bakery. They were gracious to allow the interview with WHO-TV to be held in their wonderful coffee shop in downtown Jefferson. I also had the pleasure of enjoying one of their cinnamon rolls with a hot chocolate.

Today I learned a little bit more about “accepting the things that I cannot change.”

Today I am grateful for the WHO-TV team who came to interview me in Jefferson: Reid (the reporter) and Marissa (the photographer) were both very personal (warm and engaging) and professional (respectful and competent). They both seemed to have an interest in mental health concerns and to be genuinely moved by the work of the Des Moines Pastoral Counseling Center and my efforts on this Walk.

Peace, Mark

P.S. Yesterday’s gratitude marble was given to my sister-in-law Beckie. She has now come out twice to walk with me… and she has also taken a number of wonderful pictures of my experience. The one from yesterday walking between the trees (did you notice the Lincoln Highway Heritage road sign in the background?) is one that I am hoping to have framed someday as a remembrance of this journey.

Today’s marble is hmmm…? still in my pocket… I forgot to do something with it!

Day 10 a

Mark: “An old abandoned motel two miles west of Jefferson. This dreary day added to the poignant reminder of how everything changes with time.”

Day 10 b

Mark: “Two Moss monuments two miles north of Scranton on the Lincoln Highway…one faces east and one faces north.”

Day 10 c

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For more information and more posts, please see Mark’s homepage: dmpcc.org/WalkwithMark

Everyone is invited to “Walk with Mark” by helping him reach his goal to support quality mental health services for boys and men. Supporting his 331-mile trek is easy as 1-2-3:

  1. Walk with Mark via his blog on the Center’s website or Facebook page.
  2. Walk with Mark by joining him for part of his itinerary.
  3. Walk with Mark with a donation to the Center for the counseling assistance fund.

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