I’d like to take a moment to give thanks. As you all have read in many of our blogs, there have been an untold number of people who have helped us. We also receive many, many comments- and we read every single one. They bring us joy, encouragement, and pause to think. I’d like to address a recent question- “Do we know how much people give?”
When we left Wyoming with high hopes, a sense of self sufficiency with our tent, food, survival gear, etc, and our rosy glasses, we had no idea what we were in for. I’m glad too- because we may never have left had we known how hard this would be. We were humbled almost immediately- with a near death accident in the first week- that caused us to rely completely on the kindness of strangers for rehabilitation- otherwise we’d be packing back home in defeat. In the first two months, we had a heavy dose of reality about how different it is to care for horses that are used daily as opposed to weekly or seasonally. It was hard, we all were hurting, and we again would have had to quit before we hardly began if it weren’t for the kindness of strangers.
Occasionally we ask for help, many times people call friends of theirs and ask for help on our behalf, and more often than not- help is offered to us out of folks free will- unsolicited. This help comes in the form of a roof over our heads for rest, water, food, encouragement, helpful contacts, coordinating logistics, prayer, information, computers, gear, etc. etc. We have been utterly floored, hearts filled to overflowing, and humbled beyond words to grasp the magnitude of the kindness that still is alive and well in the hearts of our neighbors- our fellow Americans. We never would have taken on a trip like this had we known how much help we would have needed, yet we have been utterly changed and challenged to be generous in every aspect of our “at home” lives. It brings me to tears to think through all the people who have become a part of our lives, a part of this journey, and a vital part of the success of this ride and dream.
So in response to the question- I know how much the help means to us. I know that everyone gives generously, some way beyond the “call of duty” for lack of a better term. But I cannot presume to get inside the hearts of others and know how big, how hard, or how sacrificial their gift- whatever amount- is to them. In a time of economic difficulty, a scouting trip in a vehicle can mean gas money they weren’t planning on spending, a meal might mean extra grocery bills, or a brief conversation to give a stranger encouragement might mean they are penalized for being late for work. All I can say is that we are utterly, beyond the description of words, filled with encouragement, hope, inspiration, joy, and relief to learn and know that people are this nice. The strength and provision of God and the kindness of strangers are the real reason we are still able to keep riding towards the East. We will never be able nor desire to claim that it is by our own strength that we can carry on.
I hope that the stories of the people we meet- who become an indispensable part of our journey- inspire you as well, and give you hope in your fellow Americans. When we left home, we were most looking forward to the scenery and the daily time with our horses. We have since found that the real joy in this trip are the friends we make who enrich our lives and make it possible for us to keep going. They are the real gem of this journey. So may God so richly bless those who have helped us- as He has blessed us by giving us the honor of having you in our lives. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for EVERYTHING and great big hugs to you too.
With love and appreciation- Richard, Jeannette, Apache, Satchmo, Tiska, Fiddle, and Chance- as well as the continued ability to fundraise for Hearts Up Ranch