I talk about my motorcycle a lot these days, both in this blog and in my basic, random, day-to-day-trivial conversations. It’s because she’s not doing so hot, and that can be a problem on those early morning rides I make in to work each day. I’ve scheduled her for a visit to the shop this afternoon, and it can’t happen soon enough for me. Is it running that bad, you ask? Well… no. The gas mileage is great and her reliability at getting me from point A to point B is very sound; it’s the little glitch in her carburetor that bothers me. Please allow me to explain.
I have to be careful when I ride. Seldom will a day go by when someone is not reminding me of the latest motorcycle accident—along with all of the obligatory gory details they seemingly can’t wait to breathlessly provide. I am aware of most of those accidents in our community and I do not take them lightly. You have to use extra care when you straddle a two wheeled monster and take to the mean streets of Pearl River County. First off, people do not see motorcycles on the road, and it is not unusual as such to have someone cross the lane in front of you when they make a left-hand turn at a busy intersection. You have to be prepared at every crossing, every entrance to the highway even, for someone who is not apt to see your chrome silhouette coming towards them from a distance. I keep my eyes peeled and my head on a swivel whenever I see a car—because you can never be certain of what they are going to do.
Furthermore when I leave my house in the country, I have to watch and be prepared for dogs or possibly even a deer or two crossing the road ahead of me. It happens. I’m a veteran of a collision with a small doe in the highway while on my bike a few years back, and I definitely do not want to up the ante by taking on a larger animal. Then there is always oil, wet roads, or loose gravel to look out for. I tell ya, it can be down-right scary when I dwell on the subject of safety while riding a motorcycle in this day and age.
I digressed a little, I know, I am prone to do that from time to time—back to my engine woes. You need your equipment to be operating perfectly if you are going to ride safely. When in a precarious situation not usually of your own making, you need instant throttle response to get you out of there as soon as possible. You need good brakes, properly inflated tires, and the correct riding apparel such as gloves and a leather jacket. I usually cover those bases.
But what I have noticed lately is that with my carburetor troubles (no fuel injection for this old-schooler!), I catch myself messing with the choke on occasion—closing it at stoplights to allow the bike to idle smoothly, and opening it back up when I reach highway speeds to allow her massive engine to purr and not sputter. While concentrating on these issues, I am less inclined to pay enough attention to the hazards that are waiting for me just over the next hill or around an upcoming curve or intersection. That’s not a good situation.
Thus, the scheduled visit to the shop—to return the bike to peak performance and to prevent a loss of concentration at those times when I need it most. You see, I can do nothing about other drivers, especially if they happen to be on a cell phone or text-messaging while they drive. I have to be careful and watch out for them versus the other way around. Yet when it comes to my own driving skills and equipment, I have the sole responsibility for doing things right and making the right choices.
Hmm. I think I notice a unique similarity to my own Spiritual life as well. Peter wrote: “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:” As I make my Christian walk each and every day, I must be careful of the things that Satan will throw in my path. He’s hiding at every intersection, camouflaged on precarious side streets, and crouching behind thick bushes waiting to jump out in front of me. That’s a given, a part of life so to speak, and furthermore there is nothing I can do to change this on my own. But when I have hidden issues in my own mind and become careless in my walk, maybe paying too much attention to things in my heart that shouldn’t be there—I become instantly at his mercy and subject to a disaster on that road not so very far in front of me.
I therefore find myself faced with two realities: I must focus on those pitfalls the world through Satan may place in my path, and I must keep my heart in perfect tune with His Will—not my own. By doing so, I know I’ll arrive at the destination He’s prepared for me, safe and sound, and definitely use a lot less gas in doing so.