Though I have friends whose husbands own motorcycles, and I know that they like to ride on the back of them, I just haven’t ever been able to get into that whole scene. Maybe it’s because my uncle took me on a “joy ride” on his motorcycle when I was sixteen that felt more like a brush with death. Wearing no helmet, no sunglasses or goggles, no jacket or protective covering of any kind, I clung for dear life to a man whose torso was too large to wrap my arms around.
He laughed. I prayed. Ten minutes later, smelling like exhaust and my uncle’s deodorant, I disembarked, struggling to find my land legs and the hair bow that had been on top of my head just moments earlier. I found one of the two.
Or, maybe the whole motorcycle thing doesn’t appeal to me because so many of the biker ladies I see look haggard and worn, like their whole faces need Chapstick. I wouldn’t call myself a girlie girl by any means, but I am a little vain. I like to look and smell good, and I expect my accessories of choice to stay put. I choose how to spend my time with these preferences in mind, which means that some things have to go, things like roller coasters, surf boards, and motorcycles.
Then again, if I could sit a Harley with as much grace and femininity as the woman who pulled up next to me at the corner of 178th and Penn the other day, I might decide to be a biker chick after all. From her bejeweled baseball cap and cascading curls to her black and turquoise, rose-patterned boots, she was the poster-child for girl-power, her small, manicured hands gripping the handlebars like she knew what she was doing.
I am not a creeper, but I did chase her…just a little bit…to the next stoplight. I wanted to take her picture, but didn’t get the chance. She must have seen me in her peripheral because she turned and smiled in a very pretty, non-threatening, don’t-you-want-to-be-me way. I have to admit that I did, for just a moment. Tan and beautiful with teeth as perfect and white as her pearl earrings, she seemed to be having the best time, and I wondered what a bike like that might cost.
In retrospect, I think we Christians could learn a lot from her.
I know that we tend to think of ourselves as victims when people say negative things, but could it be that we are partly to blame when people are put off by us? What image are we projecting? Do we come across as haggard and worn? Abrasive and loud? Mass-produced and boring? I really don’t know. I’m just going by some of the things I’ve read on Facebook lately.
Here’s what I do know. The biker chick I saw was not hung up on what it meant to be a biker chick in the traditional sense. Sure, she adhered to the basic methodology of being a biker–she rode a motorcycle, and she wore protective leather clothing and boots–but the rest of her appearance seemed to suggest that there was a certain freedom to be enjoyed in a subculture that I thought I knew a lot about. Who knew you could wear jeans with sear-sucker polka-dot pockets and rhinestone studs and ride a Harley?
I think that sometimes we get so caught up in what it means to be a Christian that we fail to live like the individually designed, tremendously blessed, victorious overcomers that we are. We waste time debating disputable matters, licking our wounds, and fortifying our walls of defense to the exclusion of all else. No wonder people don’t want to be in our gang! They don’t realize–because we’ve failed to show them–that there is tremendous freedom and joy to be found in a personal relationship with the Leader of our pack, Jesus Christ.
Remember, brothers and sisters, we are miraculously gifted people who serve an infinitely creative and powerful God. For us, all things are possible. Our Father takes care of our bullies, and a huge inheritance awaits us when we die. We’ve no reason to be timid, mopey, sad, crabby, defensive, judgmental, or angry (just feel sorry for those who don’t have what you have or know what you know). Sure, we feel those things from time to time because we are human and bad things happen, but with God’s help, none of us have to stay there.
Spiritually speaking, I’m about ready for a little “joy ride.” What do you say? Let’s take life by the handlebars and ride it with grace!
Who knows? Maybe we’ll add a few new members to our gang.