I pray the day is finding you well.
My zipper broke.
Every year my friend Chuck and I take a motorcycle trip. We block out two weeks every summer to ride our bikes...going to new places and going to places we have been before. We tend to have our phones off and go places that do not have reception. We do all this to force ourselves to detach, giving us the opportunity to decompress. We load our bikes up with everything that we will need to be out on the road for the duration: tents, sleeping bags, clothing...needless to say we take a lot of stuff.
The course of the year takes a toll on us. Chuck has a high pressure job and my work takes a toll on me in terms of emotional availability. We look forward to this time away as it affords us time to heal, contemplate life at a deeper level, and return to our work presenting our best selves. For me, this time allows me to spend copious amounts of time with God. I spend much more time listening to Him than talking to Him. I always come back rested, at peace, and with a renewed sense of calling.
It is amazing what God shows me during my trips.
My zipper broke.
My zipper broke on my saddle bag that holds many things that I thought I would need for this ride. It broke as I was making my last pre-departure check right before I left the house. It forced me to rearrange a few things. I came up with a temporary solution and was ready to go.
Chuck and his wife Dianne spent the night before the ride at our house and the last thing we did was come together and pray over our ride. I kissed Laurie goodbye, told her how much I loved her and we were off.
It was at our first stop that I realized that I had forgotten a couple of things. With the zipper breaking I had broken my pre-ride routine and left some things at the house. Oh well...that is life.
Chuck and I were just pulling into the gas station in Sprague Washington when our ride took a turn that neither of us saw coming. There is an old saying: "Life is what happens while you are busy planning for life." I did remember to bring my pocket Bible It was in its usual place in my back pocket.
My engine made a very bad sound, a very bad sound.
I called for a tow to the nearest Harley shop, which was in Spokane Washington.
The driver showed up about an hour later. He was not in a good mood, and did not look very happy. We got the bike loaded up on to the truck and I rode with him. Chuck followed us.
The driver's name was Brian. He noticed my Bible and said, "At least you have the Good Book with you."
I was not in a good place mentally, I just looked at him and smiled.
He started asking about Christ and God.
He talked about how he wants to believe, but TV evangelists do not seem authentic to him and while the words they say sound good they seem like salesmen.
He said that he tried to read the Bible a few times but never got through Genesis.
We talked during the entire ride.
I told him that I too have a problem with TV evangelists.
I suggested that he find a Bible that he can read, explaining that there are many translations...and I am sure that there will be one he can understand. I suggested that he start by reading James, then go to John, then Galatians, then Matthew, Mark, and Luke.
He asked about Heaven. It seems that everybody ends up asking about Heaven.
I responded that actually all I know is that Heaven will be bigger and better than we can possibly imagine and I am excited to find out.
He said, "I'm a good person, but I do not go to church. Will I get to Heaven?"
I said, "You don't get to Heaven by the number of times you go to church, and you do not get into Heaven just by being a good person. In the Christian faith, we believe that you must accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior."
When we got to the Harley shop Brian walked past Chuck and said, smiling, "This is all part of God's plan."
Chuck walked over to me smiling. he said, "What did you do?"
I said, "Brian and I had a nice conversation and he is a new man."
The mechanics took one look at my bike and said, "You have a blown engine."
I said, "Can it be fixed?"
They said, "Yes, it will take two weeks and $5,000."
This was a shock, not something that I expected.
I was introduced to many new people.
I met Paul, Sasha, Sandy, and eventually I met Beth.
Paul and Sasha were trying to get me to buy a new bike.
Sandy wanted to see my credit.
I spent a couple of hours with Paul, Sasha, and Sandy.
My bike was done, there was no fixing it.
I called Laurie and told her the news. She cried.
As I said earlier, I eventually met Beth. Beth is the owner of the Lone Wolf Harley Davidson dealership.
It turns out that Beth is a good Christian lady. We had a great conversation and she invited us to eat dinner at the Harley shop, they were having a closed party but invited Chuck and me to join them.
After dinner Sandy gave me a ride, with all my stuff to a KOA camp so I could sleep for the night.
The next morning, Chuck and I returned to the dealership. I was met with hugs and my new friends telling me how sorry they were for my loss. Paul said, "Roger this really sucks." I said, "Paul, while this is unfortunate, nobody got hurt; there are many worse things that are happening to people. I know, I work with them daily.' He said, "I know you do and now I know how important this ride is to you and I feel terrible.'
I replied, "Paul, it is not the challenge that defines you. It is your response to the challenge that defines you."
Paul looked at me and said, "I am going to remember that."
Beth came up and asked, "What are you going to do?"
I said, "I am turning the bike over to you."
She replied, "Do you really want to do that?"
I said, "Beth, maybe you can get some money for it and if it is in your heart, maybe you could donate the money to someone in need."
Beth just looked at me for a moment and then said, "Roger, I will do that, we will be in touch."
Sandy said, "We will Ship your stuff home for you."
Sasha was glad that I was going to wait and get a bike that I really wanted and not make an emotional buy.
I felt they truly cared about us and did not see us as a possible sale.
Chuck and I are two up on his bike now.
God taught me many things this day.
I learned that if you have your eyes open you can see His miracles even in the midst of your loss. Make no mistake, I am grieving the loss of something that I loved. But even in the demise of my bike I know that someone will be helped by it.
Who knows, maybe I would have gotten in a bad accident if this would not have happened. Maybe not. I am not in charge of God's plans for me.
Through this I was able to be a witness for Christ to a number of people. I also say His compassion and care for me as I went through this.
My zipper broke
My bike died.
Brian has new life.
Beth called us disciples.
Paul, Sasha and Sandy all gave us blessings as we left.
If I cannot see God in this, I would never be able to see God at all.