Pretrip Reflection – April 19, 2016

A Walk Across Iowa on the Old Lincoln Highway: Pre-Walk Reflections

Mark Minear

Mark Minear

by Mark Minear 

This is my first experience with writing a blog… so here are a few reflections about my upcoming Walk as well as some of my thoughts about sharing more publicly. My first consideration about a blog was related to my initial desire to make this Walk in the first place. My reasons initially included the following:

(1) I simply thought that it would be a worthy goal to stay in good physical shape to do something like this at the age of 62 (and I am grateful for good health that is just sufficient enough for me to be deluded into thinking that I can do this!);

(2) I have great respect for our admired president in whose memory the LH was named;

(3) I am intrigued by the history of the first transcontinental highway, particularly the history in Iowa over the past 100 years; and

(4) It is a celebration of life… an experience of learning to appreciate each precious and present moment – one moment, one step at a time. (Actually, I got the idea from a Marshall County guy, Steve Muntz, who walked across Iowa on US Hwy 20 perhaps a decade ago.)

In other words, I was just going to have this quiet experience for my own personal reasons, but then along came our Center’s director, Ellery Duke, who rode his bicycle across the entire U.S.—over 3,000 miles in about one month and raised over $30,000 for our counseling assistance fund. And, just thinking out loud with others at the Center, I indicated that I had a bucket list wish to walk across Iowa… so my Walk became an opportunity for another effort to raise some funds to assist those who are uninsured or underinsured. I am especially focused on the needs of boys and men as the Center has had a strong history of Women Helping Women to support girls and women who need counseling services.

So… I will approach writing this blog like I approached my Walk – that I will write it primarily for the recollection of my own memories… for my own review in the days, months, and years to come. But I do hope that you will find it interesting, enjoyable, and meaningful along the way!

In the recent weeks as I prepared for this Walk, I began to realize that—above everything else—this would become, first and foremost, a spiritual retreat for me. An opportunity to live mindfully in the moment, experience the Presence of the Holy, enjoy the beauty and awesomeness of the creation, and learn something about myself and this world of which I am a part. In the words of George Fox—I hope “to walk cheerfully over the earth—answering that of God in everyone!” Among other aspects of spiritual growth, I am hoping that my transformation from the Walk will include becoming more grateful and more generous!

Before I start, I need to acknowledge that I cannot seek to accomplish this goal without the support of so many people in my life—folks that I will write about along the way. But to begin, let me mention a couple: my wife Karla has been so very supportive to help me get organized around this Walk—it has been somewhat of an obsession and she has been genuinely patient and loving; and my brother Hal will be driving his RV across the state to provide me with a warm, dry, and safe place to sleep each night… what can I say, but he is giving two weeks of his own life to help his brother realize this dream!

I will try to write this blog at the end of each day with a similar structure… and perhaps with a picture or two each day. I will review a highlight of the day’s experience… and then add some daily features: Did you know… (a fun fact about the LH)? Today, I met ____________? Today, I learned __________? Today, I am grateful for __________?

I so appreciate your interest in my pilgrimage. It is a wonderful gift to know that there are folks who have me in their hearts as I am on this journey. And, as I think of this as a spiritual retreat—and not simply a “stay-in-good-physical-shape” trek, then I do feel that I can humbly ask you to remember me in your prayers. Thank you!

Peace, Mark

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