One of the things I am challenging myself to do this week is to engage in conversation with interesting people I meet along my way. I strongly believe the best part of bicycle touring is meeting new people and experiencing new places.
When I boarded the train, Uncle Sam came strolling by my seat. Now this is just something you don’t see every day. I went to the café car to get coffee. Low and behold there sat Uncle Sam. I thought why not find out his story. Turns out it is a memory that I will remember long after this tour is done.
Uncle Sam, aka Shawn Dick, is on a mission from God. Shawn, dressed in full Uncle Sam glory, boarded the train in Los Angeles and has been on a journey to reach Washington DC. It pains him to see a country divided. He is a veteran who believes that God can heal this nation. His mission is to visit the national monuments and government institutions where he will pray for a healed nation.
I find Shawn‘s story inspirational. You don’t need to be a religious person to understand what he is looking to accomplish. Born in Missouri and having lived in many places across this country, Shawn has experienced a good bit of America through his eyes. He does not like what he sees in the nation. He sees God as the force that helped him overcame addiction and set his life on a positive course. He sees his mission as repairing the dysfunction in America through prayer.
What I see in Shawn is a lesson that change begins with each of us. If you want to pray to affect that change, then pray. If you want to advocate for change, then find a cause and throw yourself into it. Above all, get out and vote not for a party but for a person who speaks to your vision of America. Change does not happen from the sidelines.
What a perfect way to start my week-long journey with a candid talk with Uncle Sam enjoying the glory of the American wilderness passing by the window.
Celebrating the differences and similarities in each of us.