Well, if you’ve been on Facebook lately, you’ve seen it – a couple of weeks ago I took a Motorcycle Safety Course in Mentor, and then last week I went with a friend up to Michigan to purchase my very own motorcycle – a used Harley Davidson Street 500.

That is a short sentence that doesn’t fully capture the feelings I have experienced during the past couple of weeks. I have wanted to drive a motorcycle since I was 16 years old. The summer before my senior year of high school I snuck down to the end of my street to meet a friend from work who let me ride on the back of his bike to our weekly work softball game. That ride was the beginning of my love affair with bikes.

The first day of class I woke up about two hours early. I was afraid that I was going to make a fool of myself, although I had practiced a fair bit on a friend’s bike. What if I dropped the bike? What if I couldn’t even get it going? What if I forgot how to slow down and went careening around the course?

None of those things happened. Our three instructors were wonderful. There were only four of us in the class, and at the beginning of the second day the class size was cut in half – the other two just weren’t ready to ride. So Ray – a paratrooper and Vietnam vet who was just there to get a refresher after a few years off, and I completed the class together.

Test day was a little scary. I started praying as soon as I woke up. We did a couple of practice runs first thing, and then we had a break. I sat off by myself and tried to breathe and pray. I looked up and saw a hawk, soaring high above, passing overhead. That hawk was somehow a cue to me that I’d do ok.

And I did. I passed the test and am a fully endorsed motorcycle driver – at the age of 54, 36 years after my first ride.

What have you always wanted to do, but have told yourself you can’t? What have you always wanted to learn, but have told yourself you weren’t good enough, or coordinated enough, or smart enough to do? Maybe it’s learning a new language, or taking up a sport, or learning how to knit or sew or crochet.

Learning something new is really the best way for me to celebrate the Sabbath – a time of rest when we allow ourselves to take our focus away from the troubles of the world and the demands on our time. For some of us, our days are empty and we look for ways and mundane distractions to fill them. For some of us, our days are so full we feel as though we don’t have time to sit down. But for all of us, sabbath is a requirement. A day or a time when we stop trying to distract ourselves and instead look for peace. A day or time when we intentionally force ourselves to stop, and to rest.

When I am on my bike, I cannot think about anything else. I have to concentrate fully on being where I am. And when I get off, my mind is refreshed and I am ready to enter the world again and to be fully committed to doing the work I am called to do. That’s what Sabbath rest is all about.

I hope you make time for Sabbath rest this summer, and remember to
Fear Not

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