“The skill of a rider is not seen in how well he can ride fast, but how well he can ride slow.” ~Rider Coach Roy
As I embarked upon my first not-in-a-parking-lot motorcycle drive, I recognized how true this statement is. Little wonder why the place credited with the most potential for danger for bikers is at intersections. Anyone – ok not anyone – but most people can ride forever on wide open stretches of highway, but when it comes to tight turns, stop and go traffic, starting out on a hill, or figure 8’s inside that way-too-small box at 6 miles per hour, it takes a bit more practice and skill than meets the eye. Generally, the faster you go, and the more momentum you have, the easier it is to maneuver.
Yesterday I pulled out of my driveway (a steep downhill) and onto the real road (just over a hill crest, narrow, country, back road that is) on my motorcycle for the very first time, and, unskillfully and dangerously turned far too wide into the wrong lane. Acceptable if no one is coming in the other direction. Roadkill if someone is. Yeah. I need more parking lot practice, not to learn to ride fast, but to learn to ride slow.
After I foolishly convinced myself that continuing this hobby would not end in imminent death, I got to thinking…how often do I recognize Rider Coach Roy’s wisdom in daily life? And how often do I recognize skillful slowness as a valuable asset? And how often do I foolishly assume that multitasking at the speed of light is superior? Like, well, never. Right. Way to miss the forest for the trees, Lori…er…uh…perhaps these days I should say, “Watch out for that tree!”
My thoughts turned back to my Saturday night out with Mr. Rodeheaver. My 9 second street car chauffeur, who, I’m pretty sure caused my heart to stop dead at least twice on that exquisitely romantic tire burning session he called a date. Fast. Too, too fast. Ridiculously, dangerously fast.
Being the good car guy’s wife that I am, I stood in my favorite parking lot and I scanned the faces. Yes, this is what space cadets do when we can make absolutely no logical sense out of the endless jargon regarding nuts and bolts for hours upon end. Do they know the truth? How fast should I bring it to them? How slow?
In that split second before the utter urgency overtakes me and I interrupt the fluid flowage of the gearhead galaxy with the the gospel, I pause. Where ten years ago I’d fly in and feather homemade, wild-eyed-man-on-the-street-corner tracts through the crowd like funfetti, I stop. I remind myself that slowness is a skillful virtue. I wait. I smile and extend my hand. “I’m Mrs. Rodeheaver. Are you into fast cars?…”
Am I maturing? Progressing? Or am I losing my zeal? Declining in the good fight? Because all too often the conversation never turns. Even though it’s taken everything in me to suppress the truth for this one moment, I continue. Slow is good. Too slow is bad. Really bad. Ask Rider Coach Roy.
Oh! To cease being extreme and learn to be steady! To put away pragmatism and pine only for precision and penetration! Practicality and passion must kiss if Christ is to have any presence in my parking lot. This is my intersection. I must learn to navigate and maneuver in new and better ways.
I climb into the 9 second street car and I place my ball cap over my face. Prayer. Prayer will save me from my slowness as well as my speed. I need both attributes to be skillful if I’m going to ride, and live, effectively. Like the preacher said, it’s not ok just to begin well, we must finish well. And I don’t want to be roadkill. Teach me, Lord, how to drive.