Our son, Will, just got a motorcycle. Not a small one. Not a dirt bike or mini bike or Vespa, which I told him would be much more practical, or better yet, a plain old bike that has plenty of reflectors and flashing red things for riding in the dusk and a helmet with special foam inside designed to reduce impact. His motorcycle is a large one with a gas tank that holds enough gas to get a minivan to New York and back, and muffler that get’s really hot the size of one of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s legs.
Next week he’ll be jumping out of an airplane with a parachute that hopefully will open and if it doesn’t open, hopefully the reserve chute will open as long as he remembers it exists and pulls it and he’ll land safely as long as the lines don’t get tangled and send him in a swirling mass of ropes and nylon to his death in some field in a rural area where helicopters will finally find him and notify his next of kin. That would be me. I’m his next of kin. I assume he puts my name down on the forms he has to fill out that say things like in the event of . . .
This past weekend we drove to DC to visit his sister for Memorial Day. I was driving.
He and my husband, Rick, were playing some sort of game, looking down, engrossed.
The traffic slowed and up ahead there were two fire trucks, an ambulance, police cars redirecting traffic, and so many flashing lights they could cause a seizure. As we drew closer I saw an SUV with a slight indentation on the passenger side door, and then, spread out on the asphalt, a motorcycle: handlebars half visible, and a guy or half a guy or part of a guy lying on the road surrounded by medical personnel with plastic stuff and needles and oxygen and a gurney, one paramedic, I swear, administering CPR. It’s possible I imagined the paramedic administering CPR, but honestly, I swear, I think he was.
“Oh, my gosh, look!” I pointed out the window and turned my head to get Rick’s and Will’s attention. “You guys, look! A motorcycle crash. It doesn’t look good . . .”
They played their game.
“It doesn’t look good,” I repeated.
Heads down, they pressed their little electronic contraptions. One of them said, “Ohhh, almost got it.”
“Seriously, Will, Look!” It was a sign from God, obviously, and I did everything I could to get his attention, but that damn game was just too damn important.
Stunned, I drove the rest of the way to DC in a daze, half praying, Please, Lord, please, make Will sell his motorcycle . . .”
Having come so close to losing Will a few years back to septic shock, it doesn’t take much before the old claw-of-fear begins to grab at my throat and the oxygen thins in my brain. On the whole I’ve done fairly well, keeping my hand open and trusting God. He loves Will, he loves, me, he’s in charge.
But those who know me well know I’m a weanie and scared of a lot of things. If I’m in San Francisco the earthquake will hit. The Holland Tunnel needs refurbishing, and soon enough there will be a leak and the leak will cause a crack and the crack will cause a split and in a matter of moments water will gush in and swallow cars whole. This will happen when I’m driving either into or out of New York City.
The title of this post is from Mark 4 when Jesus calms the storm. He says, and I quote, “Peace! Be Still!” He’s saying this to the sea, telling it to settle down already, but when I read it this morning I knew he was saying it to me. I like the exclamation points. Nice touch. I’ll try God, I really will. Thanks for the reminder.
Writing it down helps.