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Steve Birdsall

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The Tower

And Social Awkwardness

As I approached the final corner coming up to Devils Tower (you don’t know it’s the final corner yet), I noticed a few skid marks on the road. I thought how odd it was to see multiple skid marks in the same general area. Then I saw it! What an amazing site to see, just boom, right out of nowhere, right in front of you. No wonder people hit their brakes – it was amazing! Devil’s Tower is far more majestic than any pictures or movies can show. Of course, the skid marks could be from people stopping to take pictures in the middle of the road while the car approaching from behind them has no idea….

I could not believe how lucky I was when I pulled into the campground and got a perfect spot with an uninterrupted view of the mountain. It seemed like it was so close that I could reach out and touch it. The whole time I was setting up my tent I kept turning around looking at the mountain in disbelief.

After setting up my campsite, I ran across a couple who were getting ready to head out on a bicycle ride. It was the hottest part of the day, but having learned from experience, they were well prepared. Better them than me! We chatted briefly and I learned that a good friend of theirs is currently battling prostate cancer, so they totally got my message.

That evening, I passed by their campsite a few times while walking Janie. They were having dinner, and I found myself consciously giving them space, not engaging, so they didn’t feel obligated to invite me over. Should I say hi again? Should I politely ignore them? I don’t want to be rude, but maybe they want to have the evening to themselves. Did I put them off earlier? Social stuff can be so awkward, especially when you’re traveling alone. Sorry Janie, nothing personal, but you’re not much for conversation.

It got me thinking about whether I might be intrusive at times, being too focused on my need to make sure people hear my message and maybe not enough on their response or on having other conversations as well. Obviously, my cancer and trying to make sure others don’t have to walk in my shoes is always in the forefront of my mind, but that doesn’t have to be all I talk about. So, my new goal is to work on having more than that one conversation. I need to remember that when people already know what I’m trying to get across, I don’t need to push it anymore. I can have a friendly conversation about anything, like a crazy bicycle ride in the heat!

While we didn’t talk more that evening, they did come over the next morning to say goodbye, wish me luck on my journey and encourage me to continue sharing my story. I gave them both wristbands and the cards I got from ZeroCancer.Org and explained briefly how their organization works. I gave them each a handful of cards to pass out to others, including their friend who has prostate cancer. Something that might really help him is that ZeroCancer.Org, in addition to leading the fight to end prostate cancer, helps find funding for people who can no longer afford their medication.

I hope that even in that brief time, they left feeling a little more armed to support their friend as he fights to beat his disease.



One comment on “The Tower

  • Kristy Benson
    October 10, 2017 | 8:15 pm

    Healing begins with heart and I see & believe that God is working in yours, ever so gently at times, but always in His timing. God bless you brother!

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