I saw a most disturbing sight today while driving on a highway. A motorcyclist drove while standing up on the foot pedals of his motorcycle. Yes, I did say he drove his motorcycle standing up. I have never read any motorcycle driving manuals, but I am sure that would be a major no-no.
Wow, that guy is taking such a crazy risk! Is he trying to commit suicide? I thought. What if the car in front of him had to make a sudden stop? I saw this motorcyclist in the same area of highway that I had to come to a sudden halt about four years ago when I hit a deer.
This was an especially somber sight and thought for me since my son was killed on a motorcycle, on another highway two years ago. Jonathan was in the process of passing the van in front of him, but had to pull back in behind the van due to oncoming traffic just as the van unexpectedly and abruptly slowed down to crawling speed because of an injured deer on the road.
That motorcyclist I saw today was taking an obviously stupid risk. That kind of behavior may be okay off-roading, but should never be done on a busy highway at 65 MPH. I wondered if anyone ever smacked that guy upside the head in an effort to get him to wisen up over similar reckless actions before, but he ignored them believing he was young and invincible. I also wondered what the future held for him and his family since he was willing to take senseless risks.
Most of the other drivers on the road probably gaped wide-eyed like I did, asking themselves, “What is that guy thinking?”
I think it is fair to say most of us have taken some obviously stupid risks. It is part of our nature. Someone else might have even tried to warn us, maybe even several people, but we wrote-them-off believing we knew what we were doing and that we had everything under control.
As I grew up, there was never anyone to point out the obvious risks of some major decisions I was about to make. My single mother worked hard and was preoccupied with her own life. She spent most of her free time in deep conversations about her life struggles with my aunt, my only other adult relative. There were never the typical mother-daughter talks, or even a splinter of guidance or explanations of the simple dos and don’ts of life. In my teens I was as naïve as a child about life’s pitfalls and dangers. My street-wise meter read zero. Since I was an only child, there was never another sibling to bounce things off of.
When I was sixteen years old, my mom plainly told me that raising a teenage daughter was too overwhelming for her. With shrugged shoulders she told me to do whatever I wanted. With my mother’s blessing, and genuinely not knowing any better; I obliged her. I had been one of those model-children-by-force up to the time I was about fifteen years old. I had been subjugated since early childhood under my mother’s overly controlling thumb and her powerful fists, but after that day; I figured if she was not going to care, why should I. was hanging around with a friend whose unsupervised freedom attracted me. They say like attracts like. My friend and I began to take some pretty hefty risks we did not see or understand as risks.
She and I would stay out late into the evening trying to find ways to fill the canyon of emptiness we felt. We often hitchhiked, and once had to exit a car as soon as the driver stopped for a light because the driver undid his belt buckle and began to handle himself while we were in the back seat. Who knows where that could have gone had we been on a back road? Not all, but some of the other rides we got were filled with unwelcome inappropriate comments from the driver. One morning I hitchhiked to school alone. The man seemed nice; we chatted about everyday things. As his truck neared my school, he reached over and grabbed my chest.
“Hey, what are you doing?” I said.
“What, did you think, you were going to get a ride for free?” He said.
That was the last time I hitchhiked alone. I did not realize then what kind of dangerous risks I was taking or how really blessed I was that that situation didn’t end up as a newspaper headline or as a story line for a CIS script; had that man overpowered me and taken me somewhere else. My friend and I cut down our hitchhiking, but we were still foolish and would often jump in the car with strange people, usually guys; we had only had just met. God was truly watching us both. She and I both know Jesus now and marvel at the way His hand was on us those careless times.
While most people would say, “You deserved that one!” or “You should have known better,” the truth is that we did not know better. Neither her parents nor my mom were willing to play the parenting role. We were both terribly naïve and extremely trusting. She and I meant no malice to anyone and foolishly assumed other people thought the same way.
But what about those unintentional risks we take? You know the ones that do not look or smell like a risk at all. Those times we follow a sweet-tasting trail of crumbs thinking it will take us down a better path than the one we have been walking with the Lord, and end up sorry we ever strayed off the path. Maybe we take those roads paved with stealth risks because we feel God’s promise of NOT giving us more than we can handle somehow does not apply to us. Or maybe we easily gobble up the deceitful crumb cake crumbs because we grow weary of waiting for God to step in and take care of a situation. We figure He must have not really understood the urgency of our prayers.
I have chocked on those crumbs more times than I can say. After my kids grew up, I was so lonely I could not bear it. All alone and feeling rejected, I often reflected on the harshness, hardships, and heartbreaks of my life; rather than drawing close to God. The only family I had was in my three kids, but my kids were much too busy with their own lives to notice how devastated I was with mine.
The only identity hat I had ever worn was the hat of motherhood which included the hatpin of taking care of others and the need to feel wanted and needed. When my nest emptied, I felt physically and emotionally barren. Because of my brutal upbringing; the women that took the role as my caretakers were also the ones neglecting me or abusing me, I developed a long root that nearly reached the earth’s center. The root was one of distrust; especially to not trust any woman. So at this time of empty-nesttedness,( yep I made that word up) I had no close girlfriend. The few friends I had were more like acquaintances because one thing I have been good at in life has been the builder of the Great Wall of Defense. I always kept a safe distance around me.
I begged and begged God to bring me “my intended,” but it seemed He was staking His sweet time with that request, and did not notice the level of desperation I felt. I decided to help him out and began to follow roads strewn with crumbs that turned into crummy roads with even crummier heart breaking relationships.
I am writing this because there may be just one person reading it that is contemplating taking an obvious risk, or maybe a more subtle risk disguised as sweet crumb cake. Be wary. Sometimes, what looks like sweet relief turns out to be a basket of worm infested apples.
Image taken from Facebook
By ~ Elizabeth Yalian 2013 ©http://hiseyeisonthissparrow.com.