Easy Rider, Easy

A friend recently asked me what type of motorbike my husband owns. “A black one,” I replied with the blunt voice of the ‘reluctant pillion.’ I am one of those, ‘hold on firmly with eyes shut tight’, passengers, particularly when we sweep low around the many bends and turns on the country roads we explore. Neither am I inspired by the numb fingers and toes on frosty morning rides, or the fleeting pungent odour of roadkill in my nostrils.  

My husband loves to ride his motorbike. I hear it in his voice when he is out riding and stops to call me to let me know he’s OK. I hear the exuberance; the sheer delight and pleasure riding gives him.  

I notice how conveniently and quickly I can jump in my car, switch on the ignition and be way down the street by the time he has put on all his gear- a ritual of respectful devotion to all that is required to ride, safely and well. He has a routine that works, as I have learned after the frustration of attempting to switch up the order, only to find you cannot put a helmet on while sunnies are still on your face. Gloves always go on last, just in case something on the helmet or gear needs a final tug or tweak. The ritual makes sense.

And so, from time to time, we ride. And yes, honestly, it is a bit scary, but exhilarating all the same!

I do it because he asks me. Not often, as he knows how it is for me. But he asks with hope in his eyes, and I become the ‘reluctant pillion’ praying for a safe, smooth ride with a seriously good coffee and lunch somewhere along the journey to ease my tension.

He has passed that love onto his sons and again my mother’s protective heart kicks in and I wonder. I wonder.

I wonder why, for some of us, riding a motorbike seems such a daunting and frightening experience to be avoided, while for others it is a sheer delight. I can see the love of the risk, the thrill of finding a new ‘great route’ to master, the pushing to the edge to find what bike and rider can accomplish together. I get it. In this area of physical safety, I am not a girl who likes to go to the edge and push to see how fast or far I can go. My husband and sons on the other hand, thrive, come alive and celebrate life every time they ride.

I love that about them and while my heart and mind have to process all the ‘what if’s’ every time they ride, I do appreciate and accept it is something they want, need, must do.

But go to the edge I must, if I am to grow. I wonder what my edge of risk is? What areas of life I am exhilarated, inspired and enlivened by? I know that if I am to grow as a person, learn what I can achieve, I need to go there. Otherwise, life remains safe, predicable, unchangeable, full of possibility and potential, but not fully realised.

Life is like a ten-speed bike. Most of us have gears we never use! Charles M. Schultz

My husband and sons inspire and encourage me to go through all the gears of life and invite me to motorbike ride, mountain bike ride (dodging trees and rocks down a steep hill, and yes I hit the dirt), surf, (such a great feeling to stand up on a board), go to a screamer band rock concert, (got stuck in a mosh pit) and learn to laugh, love and live to the fullest even with a niggle of fear tucked away but not holding me back.

What is your edge? What is the place of risk for you? How do you push through fear and do it anyway?  That edge will be different for everyone of us. We all have them, edges that is. Places that trigger fear, anxiety, uncertainty and confusion. The beauty of shared life is that I don’t have to go there alone. My family, my friends and mentors help me see the edge, feel the fear and do it when I’m ready. Maybe one of our first risks is to trust others with our edges, our places where we want to go to but can’t go alone.

So my question is: Where is your edge and who is standing there with you to help?

Isa 54:2 NIV

“Enlarge the place of your tent, stretch your tent curtains wide, do not hold back; lengthen your cords, strengthen your stakes.God asks us to stretch out our tent pegs, do not hold back. Life is risk.

Photos taken by Glen Yeomans Blog: Zed14.com (Iron Butt Rider Legend)

Unexpected

I have many wonderful memories from childhood of long summer family holidays on the East Coast of Tasmania. Scamander was a favourite spot for us with its long white sandy beach, pelicans parading on the sandbars and the beautiful Scamander River for fishing. My dad used to take what he called his infamous ‘bream rod’ and every year we’d keep a tally of how many fish the bream rod caught.  One year we hired a small tinny to try and catch more fish and so my dad, my younger brother and I ventured out onto the dark tea tree coloured waters in search of the elusive bream.

My father and brother were much more serious fishermen than I, consequently they had the rods and I was given a hand line with no expectations that I’d actually catch anything.

Ah, the serenity, drifting along with an easy current and occasional turn of the oar as the summer sun glinted on the water. Pleasant to be away from the ants, mozzies and snakes we’d find when we went to our usual haunts on the banks of the river. So there I was, leisurely dangling my hand line over the side with a small amount of bait attached, when suddenly, the line grabbed and the small hand reel was almost reefed from my grasp.

I got so much more than I bargained for because the pressure on the line was incredible and cutting through my hand. As I wound in the now taut line, up from the depths of the dark water came what looked like a snake, spiraling it’s body around the line, attempting to free itself from the hook.

Yes, no surprise here, I panicked, screamed, stood up quickly in the tinny and hurled the hand line in the direction of my father. Into the boat came a rather large eel which promptly landed in the bottom of the now wobbling tinny.

Both my brother and I scrambled as far away as we could yelling and screaming as this monster from the deep writhed just under our feet.

Firstly, my dad told us to sit still and be quiet.

My brother then boldly got out his fishing knife and attempted to pin the eel just behind its head. Instead of dying, the eel wrapped its body around the knife and pulled it out.

Again my father had to remind us to sit still and be quiet as we tried to scramble further from this frightening creature. Dad proceeded to cut off the head of the eel, which meant the body and head now separated, still writhed in the bottom of the boat all the way back to the jetty where my brother and I leapt out, relieved to be on land again.

My dad skinned and cut up the eel to take back for our dinner. Mum carefully placed the pieces of eel in the fridge on a plate only to find on the next opening of the door that all the pieces had wriggled off the plate. We, all except our father, decided we weren’t going to eat something that still wriggled. He said we’d be missing out on a very sweet meal.

Suffice to say, all these years later I still remember the unexpected encounter with an eel and while now I can smile about it, at the time it was rather terrifying to a young girl.

No doubt you all have some events like that in your life, where something occurred that you least expected. For me, I, with the poorest equipment, caught the only catch of the day.

There are times when we cope well with those unexpected moments, the ‘surprises’ of life. And sometimes, not so.

Then as a young girl, I had a father who took charge, kept us afloat and relatively calm, heading us safely back to the jetty.

In life, I find that I look to God to do that for me when I feel out of my depth and trapped in situations or circumstances I feel unprepared and ill-equipped to deal with.  I am thankful for a heavenly Father who is in control, can deal with all the situations I face in my life, protecting and providing for me when I need it.

Yes at times, I still get wobbly and panic when I feel out of control. It’s human nature and no surprise to our heavenly Father who sits right in the boat of life with us. I’m not alone, God is a constant gentle presence in every circumstance. He’s a very good Father to his children.

My hope is that you can find safety and protection in your life as you turn to your heavenly Father for the help you need in the unexpected out of control moments of life. He keeps his promises and can be trusted always. He’s in the boat, right there with you. You are not alone.