Burn the White Flag

White Flag – The flag of truce or surrender.

To burn the white flag is a confident defiance of surrender. There is no retreat.

Up until today, I thought this was a great mantra. I knew exactly what it meant. Damn the torpedoes. Full steam ahead. I am not quitting, I’d rather die than give in kind of stuff.

There’s a reason I chose this as my mantra. My marching song. After I quit drinking, I listened to Joseph’s “White Flag” over and over again. It gave me strength – it brought out the strength I already had.

I could get behind this song as motivation.

To this day, I still believe it, but my definition of it has changed as I have changed.

It’s okay for me to scream BURN THE WHITE FLAG. I’LL NEVER GIVE UP as long as I have a plan and the faith to see it through. So, if at some point I need to burn that white flag I am prepared to do it.

Better put – the old definition had defiance and anger. Today, that definition is about resolve and the joy of pushing through my own limits and oddly enough, my surrender to faith.

Confused? Me too. But there’s a reason I’m rambling. I’m tired. Very tired.

Because today, I did not give up.

Over a week ago I decided I to ride my bike 100 miles. My FIRST century ride (think marathon for cyclists). It was for many reasons but chief among those was to prove to myself that I could do it. That I would not quit. That I would not give into fatigue – both physical and mental.

Everyone has there reasons for tackling a challenge. I’m certain most are deeply personal as was mine. As a recovering alcoholic, I needed to feel life again. To experience the joy of completing something I never thought I could do. In an odd way, it was to feel the “good pain” of what sobriety has to offer. To suffer for the right reasons. To find happiness in the journey.

Today I did just that. I found happiness.

It wasn’t in the form of a burning bush or some great epiphany. I found it slowly in each and every mile. In the conversations and the spaces between them. I even found happiness in getting lost because I knew, like life, wrong turns can lead to new destinations and unexpected experiences.

Fittingly, we finished the last 5 miles as the sun set and the darkness covered the day. It was quiet, cold and a bit scary. But I wasn’t afraid anymore. I knew now that I could truly burn the white flag and see it through.

As we pedaled toward the finish, I asked God to protect us from harm. To bring us safely home. And for the first time in my life, my prayer wasn’t a plea or a bargain. My prayer was formed in serenity.




The Happy 100

100 Mike Bike Ride

PS – Life is too short to go it alone. I couldn’t think of a better person to ride 100 miles with than my good friend, Laurie. When I asked her, she never hesitated. She was all in. I wouldn’t have made it to the end without her. Thank you Laurie! Thank you for sharing my dream with me. For watching chasing dogs, lost owls and charging bucks. But most of all for being my friend.