I must confess, I never planned to ride a motorcycle. As a former ER nurse, I have seen my share of rides gone bad and many did not have happy endings. But when your beloved’s passion rests here, one has to at least reassess perspective. In the short time I’ve been riding, there are a few things I’ve learned that oddly enough mirror living a life of faith
Know your Driver
I’m not by nature a confident passenger. When I first began riding, I clung to my husband’s middle, grasping for flesh, shirt or whatever I could find to secure myself. But I’ve learned to trust; to align myself with the rhythm and leanings of my husband’s body rather than fight them. We then can begin to move as one. When I refuse, it makes his job more difficult. Like a drowning person who finally relinquishes himself to the lifeguard, I’ve stopped fighting for a false sense of control. I know this man and he is worthy of my trust.
Similarly, God is the driver of my faith and life. There are times when I assume I know better than He. My limited perspective obscures reality, promising a more desirable outcome. The years have proven that wrong. He alone is worthy of ALL my trust. So when fear grips me, I can choose to lean into His will for my life, because I know him as my Father.
Before I climb on, there are some important steps of preparation. A helmet protects my head from that unexpected accident while goggles protect my eyes from insects and flying debris. I wear long pants to protect from the heat of the motor and leather boots to secure my footing. The sun’s piercing rays are repelled by the necessary application of sunblock. These are things I know to do out of wisdom and experience and are key to the safety and joy of the whole riding experience.
The Bible provides a prep of its own. It counsels us to hide His Word in our hearts and to put on the full armor of God. It says to forgive, pray, love deeply and be humble; to clothe ourselves with compassion and give sacrificially. These admonitions protect us from the weakness of our flesh, the assault of the enemy and our naive invincibility. The One who created us cautions us to be alert and prepared in order to navigate the twists and turns of this life. He knows what we need in order to be prepared for this earthly walk.
Enjoy the scenery
There is so much to behold on a ride through the southwest desert. From flowering cacti and wild horses, to mountains that ascend out of fields of waving grain. On a recent morning, we passed a humble clapboard house on the Indian reservation where a native couple relaxed on their front porch. I thought to myself – “What a simple life they have and how few their wants must be.” But then I turned my head and caught the majestic mountain range to which they were facing. With all my blessings, I could never claim a view of such magnificence.
In the busyness of life, I miss so much of a beauty that doesn’t require wealth to enjoy. Often all I need is a change of mental perspective to really see. Sometimes it’s found in nature but other times in the face of a grandchild, or words spoken by a friend. Sometimes it’s in a discovery of God’s truth or through the blessing of music. But I’m assured none of this without a bit of intentionality. My eyes will see what my mind is attuned to.
As with anything else that unites people, motorcycle riders have a sense of belonging. When we pass one another on the road, there’s a certain hand wave done to signify the relationship It’s a type of brotherhood, described by Aaron Cortez of the Bike Bandit blog as “…a way to show some solidarity with people you don’t even know, just because they’re riders like you.” And if you’re stranded on the side of the road and a brother comes along, you can be pretty sure help has arrived. Riders share a sense of family.
But there’s something much sweeter in a family of faith that transcends hand waves and roadside rescues. Though the church is a gathering of imperfect people, we are still the “Bride of Christ”. Rescues occur here as well, but ones of eternal proportions. And because we know this world is not our home, our joy persists through difficulties. If you aren’t committed to a Gospel centered church, you’re missing out. Solo Christians are about as common as unicorns.
We’re planning our next trip. This one will take us through twists and turns, and up and down mountainous desert terrain. I’m scared and excited. But know this: No ride can ever thrill like the ride with the Lover of my Soul. And this one lasts an eternity.