July/August 2020

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