Excerpted from PIECES OF MY HEART by David L. Wood.  Copyright © 2011 by David L. Wood. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher, Healthy Life Press.

*Unedited version from the book, “Pieces of My Heart”*
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So a few years ago I bought a motorcycle.  I have had several motorcycles throughout my life so this was not new for me.  I ended up buying an older Honda 650 for $1200.  It needed some work but nothing too extensive and I liked the bike.  It was nice to be out on a hog again, the wind blowing through my flowing Fabio hair and occasional bug smashing against my face shield.  Ah, the joys of the biker life.

The last time I had a motorcycle in Idaho was when I had bought a bike from our gang leader and rode with them for some time.  Sure, we didn’t wear the leather jackets with a cool logo or have our bodies covered in tattoos, but Ken, his wife Kris and I were as tough of a gang as you might hope to not come across.  But that is for a different story and not for the faint of heart.  The main point was that back then, Idaho did not require you to have a separate motorcycle license, just a valid driver’s license.  But now, that law had changed and you had to pass a written and driving test before you were able to get your license and again wreak havoc on society.

First I passed the written test and got my permit that allowed me to drive everywhere except on the freeway for up to six months.  Any time in there you could go and take your driving test to get your license.  It was really up to you and you alone as to when you felt ready.  I would drive around the freeway looking longingly at it and in my mind and sometime out loud on accident say, “Soon freeway, soon.”

The day finally came when I was ready and went for my driving test.  There were about a dozen people there and I watched as they worked their way through the different tests set up for them.  It seemed to me about one in three would not make it.  They didn’t die or anything, they just did not pass the test.  I was up very close to last.  I figured they had heard of me or had at least seen me driving around town and didn’t want everyone to see all the right ways to do everything.

As I maneuvered my way through the course as smooth as a hot knife cutting through butter, I heard the roar of the crowd as I waved and tipped my head down in humility.  Ok, fine then.  What really happened was that I had messed up on one of the obstacles and the crowd noise was coming from a replay of a gladiator movie that was running in my head.  I had one more obstacle left and if I messed up, I failed the test.

Beads of sweat the size of bowling balls poured off my forehead and hit the ground with a steady thud and then rolled off to either side of the runway.  My job was simple it appeared.   I needed to quickly get my speed up to between 15-20mph and after passing one point painted on the ground, I need to quickly turn the bike to the left or to the right and avoid the next set of printed lines on the ground.  That should be easy enough for such an experienced road warrior such as me…or so I thought.

Now you get two tries at this part of the test and it was a good thing because the first run had ended in miserable failure, my tire clipping the white line.  This was it, my last chance and as I repeatedly cranked the throttle, bringing forth a loud roar from my engine, the crowd fell deathly silent.  You could have heard a pin drop had I not been making all the noise with my engine…plus you wouldn’t want to be dropping pins there anyway because they would get stuck in tires.  Then I was off…past the first point…swerving to the left…NOOOOOOOO… I clipped the white line once again.

You could hear a large gasp from the audience and many mothers covered their children’s eyes to shield them from the ominous failure they had just witnessed.  Lucky I am not a cussing man or they would have had to choose between their eyes and their ears.  But anyway, I had failed…miserably failed.  The mean man told me I could come back next week and try again.  I asked him how it is even possible to move your motorcycle to one side or the other so quickly, it had to be some kind of a cheap circus trick.  He said you have to push the side of the handlebars forward that you want the bike to go towards.

I was like…what???  It’s bad enough I failed the test, now the guy wants to kill me.  What he was saying is that if you want to go to the right, you have to turn to the left and vice-versa.  That did not make any sense to me and it just did not compute in my brain.  How could that be true???

But as I re-read the motorcycle manual I found a section that said exactly what I had been told.  And even though it did not make sense to me and I really did not believe it, I had to go and try it.

The first time was a little scary and I really did not push the one side forward with much force but rather just a little to check out this heresy and prove it wrong, oh me of little faith.  But what I found was even a small push caused the bike to jump to the opposite side.  And as I tried it more and more as I got more brave, what I found was that if you turn the tire to the right or left with the bike straight up, the bike will quickly fall to the opposite side and you go along with it.  And when you get it back straight again, you have moved over way to one side.  And that was the skill I was missing.  That “crazy thing” I had never heard of and truly did not see how it could be true…in testing showed me that everything I truly believed about it to be absolutely incorrect.

I practiced that course during the week when no one was there and when I went back the next week, I passed with flying colors, similar to what you would see in a Lucky Charms commercial.  This was only possible because I was willing to step out of my box of understanding and try something I did not believe was true just one week before.  After I brought my passing paper to the DMV and had my license in hand, I rode my bike off into the sunset and took my rightful place on the freeway.

So do any of you see any parallels to anything else in your life?  It makes my mind go crazy so I will only share what I am skimming off the top for now.  You’re welcome in advance.  Hopefully this will cut this entry down a bit and give your eyes a break.

The first thing that comes to mind is that we as a society, as humans, as people think we have a lot of things figured out.  As a country we have decided where it is best for us to allow God and not to allow God.  Each one of us has an idea what God can do and what God cannot do.  And with the nuances of that thought we all have a picture of who or what God is and is not.  Those pictures range from, at the far end, showing just how great God really is and so far beyond our imagination all the way down to the other end where we have a nice little God that fits nicely in a box for when we need Him.  What we believe matters in how we view God.  Not what we “say” we believe but what we actually and truly really believe.  Not what is in our minds but rather what is in our hearts.

Reading back in the Bible, the Pharisees thought they had it all figured out.  They had their rules upon rules upon rules and that gave them their security in their religion.  But wow, that guy named Jesus did not seem to agree with them.  We have this picture of kind, gentle and humble Jesus.  Somehow when He was calling them white washed tombs filled with dead man’s bones or challenging them at every corner I don’t think they thought those things of Him.  I imagine they did not like how easily Jesus unraveled their logic and the fallacy of what they believed.  I imagine they thought of Him as a hotshot and trouble maker and in the end thought it was best to kill Him.  It was the right thing to do after all because this Jesus was obviously a madman.

You know, I think just like the Pharisees we sometimes think we have some things all figured out.  And I wonder if Jesus walked among our lives, just how many things would He find and turn upside down?   What is it that He would challenge and shake up in each one of our lives?  Would we be open to the change or would we fight against it as hard as the Pharisees did?  Hard questions and since I am speaking rhetorically, you can relax, take a deep breath and just reflect in your heart.  Because really, this is personal between you and Jesus, each and every one of us dealing with our own issues.  And really, the truth is Jesus does walk among us every moment.  And the Holy Spirit lives within us and guides and challenges us if we are listening.

In Isaiah 55:8-9 it says, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD.  “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.

We are never going to “figure God out” and if we could, would He really be much of a God?  Some of the things I read in the scriptures hit my mind but are hard for me to sear in my heart because they are against what society and sometimes what I think logic is, just like my motorcycle steering lesson.  We read things like if we want to be greatest, we must be the least…the last will be first and the first will be last…we must die to live and we must love our neighbors as ourselves.  And then there is the whole love and pray for your enemy thing.  We are to shun pride and strive for humility, serve others not considering our needs more important.  It’s hard stuff people. Easy to say and read but not always easy to live.

It seems like in many areas I do not have it all figured out because I struggle with many of these things.  God says “to”, I say “fro”…God says, “frick”, I say “frack”…God says, “potato”, I say “po-tah-to”.  I think the lesson is clear, I have much to learn and I am stubborn and hard-headed and at times even attempt to tell the Creator of “everything” what is best for me and others and His plan.  Wow, I guess I don’t have much figured out at all do I?

Daddy, I am again, greatly humbled as I often am when I consider the love you have for me.  Why do You love me enough to put up with me?  I could not do it…just sayin’…but I’m glad You can.  Please soften my heart in all the areas that need to be changed.  Please till those areas with any method you see fit, taking out the bad and wrong ideas and beliefs I have nourished for way too long.  Please plant Your truth in me in a way that it would flourish in me and bless others and make You proud.

I love you,

David L. Wood 9/5-6/2010 ©