I once confessed with a measure of shame to an artist I admire, “I can’t draw a straight line.”  Her reply stunned and encouraged me—

“In life, there are no straight lines.”

If I am honest with myself, I am anything but a straight-line girl. Not in art. Never in design. Definitely not in life.

If I am honest with myself, I am anything but a straight-line girl. Not in art. Never in design. Definitely not in life.

Have you ever watched a motorcyclist lean so far into the turn that his hip nearly touches the ground? To be the observer is terrifying. But ask any biker and he or she will tell you that it’s a lot more fun to lean into the curves than cruising along on a straight road.  

Here is the inspiration for what is in me that needs to be said—

I received a call from a dear friend this past week

Because of my own difficult diagnosis,  she wanted me to know that her Harley-riding husband had just received some news that felt like a hard fall.

Rather than saying, “I will be praying for you,” the two of us captured the moment and brought her man to the alter etched with the salt of our blended tears.

As we prayed, I pictured this big-hearted guy leaning all the way into the turns on his enormous bike, and I was filled with this overwhelming epiphany that we are all on this this inexplicable Wild Ride.  

If you are reading this on Saturday, October 23, I will ask you to join me in remembering me in surgery 365 days ago exactly, today. In going back through my blog, I was surprised to discover I hadn’t written about my journey during the first few weeks of my fast and furious ride.

Perhaps the delay was a necessary emotional processing of all I was experiencing and what was ahead. More likely, God and I were working through exactly how we would together,  share what needed to be said.

If you read my journal entry, “Making Room,”  posted on November 7, there’s a paragraph at the very bottom that provides a hint of all that was about to unfold:

I am on this journey of stripping away pride, making room for something that might be just a little more useful than the need to be right or smart or seen.  In the space that pride left behind is this fast-growing cell that looks and feels a lot like Compassion—an other-focus, and insatiable need to listen to things of the heart.

“This Fast-Growing cell…” Here is where I find the evidence of God speaking in and through my life—the Voice that has been constant throughout these past twelve months is one that recognizes a transience that we all share.

There is nothing that I have gone or am going through—no fear, anxiety, frustration, disappointment—that you haven’t felt.

The day I received the alarming call from my gynecologist I was packing the last few boxes in preparation of our move from California to Idaho.  Our home in Napa had sold just three weeks before my first emergency surgery. Did God know that Ron would be loading our lives on a truck while I was laying on a metal table? Did He know that four days later I would be back in the hospital when our realtor was handing over the keys?

Be careful not to fear the path, to define it within the framework of your own limited understanding of what may be around the bend.

“Your therapy is like a Big Mac,” my Oncologist had mused. “You can get it anywhere.”

[It must be said, and with a measure of bragging, that I have never had a Big Mac.]

In the space of two simple sentences my surgeon, who had just delivered insurmountable news, managed to distill my Wild Ride, my seemingly overwhelming journey, down to something bite-sized, manageable, and universally understood.

Trust that where you’re going is a place where others have already been.  

There are those who plan the journey, and those who head out on the open road. Then there are the wise ones—those who celebrate the detours, who let the path be free of expectation and simply let it unfold.

Whatever is around the turn, don’t let it make you hesitate.

My biker-friend would admonish that the more you lean into the turns, the smoother the ride inevitably goes.

Lord God. When we wonder where you are in the difficult journeys, let us recognize you as the wind in our hair—blowing with the full-force of your purpose when we refuse to fear, when we accelerate to meet you there. Let me be thankful for every detour, every curve. This is my prayer.

MASTERING THE ART OF THE WILD RIDE [from a biker’s point of view]

~The mistake is getting too far ahead of yourself. Will your mind to ride in concert with your body, to remain focused in the here and now.

~Committing to the turn too early can have devastating consequences. Pace yourself. Trust the timing. No need to rush ahead.
~Counter steering often takes you exactly where you want to go. Sometimes doing what feels strange or opposite to the goal is precisely what needs to happen.
~Make sure you have a clear view. Never make rash decisions when obstacles [whether in your head or on the path] are in the way.  
~When you look into the turns, plant your eyes on where you want to go.  Where your gaze is, there is the prize. 

~Getting to the destination requires consistency in reaction. Smooth and steady. Not too fast. Not too slow.

~Listen to the bike. Awareness in what the bike [your body] can do creates a confidence that can withstand what’s ahead.   
For every moment of joy
Every hour of fear
For every winding road that brought me here
For every breath, for every day of living
This is my Thanksgiving—

Don Henley [My Thanksgiving]
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