I debated on whether or not to share this when this blog was merely Facebook statuses copied to a note. It was a brief but profound experience that I initially felt was one that I should keep to myself. It wasn't a 'this is so crazy that I had better not tell anyone' experience, but a special one that I initially wanted to guard and keep just for myself. I debated whether to share or not to share and ultimately came to the conclusion that if I'm blogging about such things and don't share a moment like this then I am simply being selfish.
It was a Saturday, June 29th 2013, and I was riding to Battley Cycles to pick up a seat strap for my '96 Super Glide. The weather was as perfect as it could be and I was riding out Route 108 in the early afternoon. I ride 108 everyday as part of my ride to work, which takes me from 108 to Mucaster/Redland Road out to Research Boulevard, with a brief time on two connecting streets. I've found that my ride has places that are very special along the way, most of which are on 108 and Redland prior to Redland opening up into a two lane each way road and the woods and pasture giving way to commercial buildings and concrete. I savor each part of this ride, making my daily ride to work much more than simple commuting. One of the greatest parts of appreciating the creation around me is the element of being fully open. I can see the sky, unbordered by the sheetmetal around the windshield, undivided by A-pillars, and unobstructed by the tint of the glass. I wear goggles, but they do not filter and mute the scenery the way vehicle glass does.
All of that brings me to that Saturday in June. I was riding on 108, going past the soccor fields on my right and a tall stretch of woodland to my left which has been there since before I moved to Olney in 1969. The soccor fields end and more wooded area comes up on the right with a corn field-turned-housing development on the right. As I rode through this coridor and ascended the hill, I was struck with a view of the sky like none I had ever seen. The clouds had a golden, almost bronzy glow about them that had not been there when I had set out and the blue of the sky had become even more rich and vivid than it had already been. A powerful presence came over me. There were no words; spirits do not communicate that way. But I knew the message immediately: "I am here and you are loved." The presence lasted the entire ride, though not as intensly as in that brief moment.
I have had experiences that affirmed the existence of our Heavenly Father, and I have had experiences where I have encountered Jesus, but none quite like this. The most amazing thing about it was that there was no condemnation, judgement, or sense of worthlessness in the face of the Father. I have always wondered about accounts, both Biblical and extra-Biblical that portray men and women as feeling lowly and worthless in the presence of God. A loving father should never prompt such feelings in his children. The sense of magnitude and majesty of the Father was inescapable, but rather than looking up at God like a lowly worm, I was caught up in His love and grace, bouyed as though on wings instead of wheels. I have been on airplanes, in a hot air balloon, driven convertible cars and stood high above the earth on the Empire State Building and the Space Needle. This experience was like flying without the aircraft, standing high without the building.
It was one of those amazing moments, perhaps once in a lifetime moments, that you read about but never expect to happen to you, no matter how hard you may wish for it. You also read about how sometimes, after having the experience, people are never the same and feel a sadness that they had to go back to normality. But this was the ever-satisfying presence, the wellspring that wells up inside of you and satisfies your spirit, leaving you to go back to normality with a satisfaction that cannot be met by any worldly source.
We go through life asking for and looking for signs. A sign that a divine entity exists, a sign that this entity cares about us and is watching over us. As I said earlier, I have had other experiences that were not this intense or profound, but which were equally real. We have these experiences everyday. But we live our lives in such a busy way that we miss them and miss the lessons that they are meant to teach us.
So get out of your spiritual cage and onto your spiritual bike (pick a model, it doesn't matter which one) and ride through your life with the appreciation of the world around you. No matter where that world is, no matter what that world is. Find the beauty. I hear about people who want to get away from their local area to see a really beautiful place. The sky I see everyday and the beauty of Mother Earth beneath it is as gorgeous here as it is anywhere. Every place is special. But sometimes, you have to look for it. When you find it, you'll appreciate it even more.
Rock Hard & Ride Free!