One of the areas that required the most personal development when I became disabled was riding/touring. For the last several years before I got sick, I had been participating in a competitive long distance riding event. Yes, I like to compete and I would push myself to be able to do so. But it was also about seeing more of this great country of ours. I explain motorcycling to “cagers” (car drivers) as being the difference between watching the TV and being “in it.” I’ve ridden a motorcycle for my entire adult life. Usually, a bike was my primary mode of transportation. But it wasn’t until about twenty years ago that I actually got the difference. I was riding with my best friend and father-in-law. We had taken a weekend camping trip on our bikes and set out on Saturday morning to ride Arizona’s most technical and dangerous road. The morning began splendidly as we rode south and I followed the FIL, just letting the rising sun clear the cobwebs from my still sleepy head. It was almost as if I could feel it. But the moment that changed my life was when we were heading into Hannnagan Meadow. We had been riding out in the open at an elevation of around 9,000’. Despite the elevation, I had my jacket partially unzipped because we were riding in full sun and it was warming my black riding jacket quite nicely. Just before Hannagan Meadow, the road enters a narrow canyon. As we came around a curve and I entered the shadows, I suddenly felt my chest get very cold in the small triangle where my jacket was unzipped. That tiny detail made an impact on me as I suddenly could define why I preferred riding a bike to driving a car. In a car, I never would have noticed that change. And it was beautiful. As I zipped up my coat, I was enthralled with being IN the world. Today I won’t go into detail about the accident scene we came upon and providing care for Earl while we waited for the medevac chopper to show up. That is a story unto itself! Over the ensuing years, I rode more and more miles per trip and always alone. I came to cherish those times where I was alone on the road with God.  You see, over the last several years that I rode, I would map the route between required stops for the competition I was riding in and then I would change the route to include any twisty or interesting looking roads. I never thought about the weather or what I would encounter. I just figured I’d handle it as it came. I’ve ridden across mountain passes where the road was covered in thick ice except for the tire track from the cars that had gone before me. I remember praying, “OK God, I’d appreciate it if you just picked me up and put me at the summit”. I thought about Elijah as I prayed. He didn’t. But as I got to the summit, the view of southern Utah was amazing. I could see the countryside that held multiple national parks. Usually, tall mountains stop the storm fronts, but as I stopped to enjoy the view of the Escalante Staircase, the rain I had been trying to stay ahead of all morning caught up to me and I had to move on. But I’ve also come around a curve and seen the amazing and unexpected Walker Lake in the middle of the moonscape that defines much of rural Nevada. And I’ve had a road along Idaho’s Salmon River all to myself as I mused that the pouch of salmon I had in my tank bag might not be as good as something fresh from the river. And I woke up from a nap on a side road with the feeling I was being watched to see a herd of sheep looking over a fence at me. You see, the point is that when you decide to walk with God and trust Him completely with your life and its direction, it’s much like a motorcycle ride. For a short time, you might white knuckle the grips as you try to stay upright across a mountain pass. Or you might see a series of beautiful sights that leave you wanting to go back. There are no guarantees that walking with God will be easy or fun. But what we do know is that it’s a journey and if we look forward with anticipation, “OK God, what do you have for me around the next bend?” then we will enjoy the trip that much more.

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3 Responses

  1. Appreciate the good reminders here Matthew! The white knuckle moments are hard but they are part of the journey. And comfort in God being there too.

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