Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Faith on Two Wheels

Don bought himself a birthday present this year. On the one hand, that made my life easier - he's not exactly the easiest guy to shop for; and the size and coolness factor of this gift made everything else look like a really ugly tie in comparison so I didn't even bother to shop.
On the other hand... it's an item that makes me nervous and gives me gray hairs every time it gets used.
It's a Harley. A 2003 Softail Deuce.

He's wanted one for a long time, and finally found the perfect bike, already built and in great condition for the right price at the right time in our financial lives, so I guess this was the time to do it. He's also very conscious of the fact that he has a wife and three kids who love him and need him around (after all, who else would clean the cat box, change my oil, and let the kids watch Family Guy?). He's an extraordinarily observant and careful rider, I know. What makes me nervous is all the other drivers out there who are texting, putting on makeup, eating, and just generally being idiots. I don't text and I don't wear makeup, but I have eaten while driving before - how else would I get sustenance some days? I know how it takes your attention from the road and other vehicles.
So while I'm really glad he's got his Harley after all these years of waiting and wanting, I have to admit some trepidation about him actually getting on it and riding around. Not only am I concerned about other drivers, loose gravel, and strong wind gusts while he's out on it alone, but I can't fathom going with him. Instead of being able to buy a helmet and enjoy this with him, I'm a big chicken, paranoid about tossing away our ability to walk or even our lives if a car or truck driver isn't paying attention. I think about our children going to a relative I haven't even spoken with about taking them just in case, being raised in another state away from friends and our church family. I think about the wind tangling my hair into a matted nest of "oh just cut it off already" and the very real potential for bugs splattering painfully against my face, and the idea of a motorcycle ride just loses a lot of it's appeal for me.
And then I wonder where my faith is.
When you're on a motorcycle, you experience going places in a way you just can't in a car. You can feel things, see things, smell things you miss when you're cruising along shut up in your airtight cocoon of conditioned air. Easy Rider is a cult classic, and Harley owners have their own world-wide fraternity for some very good reasons. Being part of that group opens the doors to amazing things in this world, and what's wrong with experiencing some of them? Don wants to, I know, and I love him, so I should at least support his adventure even if I can't wholeheartedly take part in all of it.
And I do have faith that God would take care of me and my children the way He takes care of Don each time he's been out for rides since the day he brought it home. Perhaps having the bike in our garage now is God's way of suggesting that I stop being so over-protective and let Him do His job. And enjoy some of His world and His people in the process.
Maybe I'll go look at helmets this weekend. And maybe I could get a cool leather jacket and some new sunglasses, too.
Don does look very, very good on the bike. He rode into the driveway this afternoon as I was picking up walnuts with the kids and I just stood there and stared at him until I had to wipe the drool off my chin. Trouble is, he knows exactly how good he looks.

2 comments:

Gina said...

A man on a Harley does look good!!

Anonymous said...

Natalie,
It's Ruth Ann in South Carolina. I found your blog site in an e-mail that Nina sent. What a delight to see your family photos! I miss seeing you and your family each Sunday. We are happy here in South Carolina, and I have met some wonderful people in the local Methodist church. Freeman folks will always be special to me. I haven't forgotten.

Dennis and I will be spending a week in May in Bella Vista, AR. Then we plan to come up to Harrisonville and Freeman on Saturday and Sunday, the 23rd and 24th.