I was browsing this group today finally, and thought I'd share a little blog entry I wrote a while back. I was waxing philosophical one day and using the skills I'd learned from GA's over the years. (You know, taking mundane objects or trivial happenings around us and shoehorning them into a gospel analogy for a truly kick-ass conference talk) Lol... Anyway, I love motorcycles. I've got two bikes currently, and continue to ride 100 miles a day for my work commute into the city. (a Honda 599 commuter bike, and a Suzuki Hayabusa turbo for play). I look forward to getting to know some exmo bikers! Anyone near the bay area wanna hook up for a ride sometime? I'm always game. Anyway, here's my mini conference address:
I love riding motorcycles, and have amassed well over 300,000 miles of pleasure riding and commuting so far my lifetime. Despite the inherent risk, I will often jump quickly on the bike and be on my way without giving much thought to the delicate balance of parts and machinery that all come together to form a motorcycle and give me the rush that I crave. In the past, I’ve tried to be careful when it comes to such things as tire pressure and tread life, brake pads, oil changes, fork seals, suspension adjustments, etc. I know it is essential to keep an eye on the critical areas for safety and the overall health of the motorcycle, so I try to be careful and perform this maintenance when required.
Recently, I began to hear a rattling and knocking sound at low speeds. I at first feared that something might be wrong with the engine, but upon further listening, I realized that the sound was coming from a different location. I realized that I had neglected my responsibility in one key area of maintenance; I had neglected the chain. Upon a quick inspection, I saw that the chain was extremely dirty and dry, the O-rings were kinking, and the tension had slipped so that there was far too much slack in the chain. I began to think about how I abuse the poor steed on a daily basis with sudden starts, stops, and quick accelerations as I dart in and out of the cars congesting the California freeways. Other times I break free and am able to cruise for longer stretches at speeds of up to 90 miles per hour, or putter along between lanes at much slower speeds. Some days I even subject the chain to rain and dirty road spray, only to be followed by dusty or grimy conditions days later. Despite all of the punishment it takes on a daily basis, the chain continues to labor without complaint as long as I take a few simple moments to show my appreciation by cleaning it, lubricating it, and adjusting its tension. As I knelt by the side of the motorcycle last night, I tried to remember when I last cleaned and checked my chain. It didn’t seem like that long ago, yet the sorry sight of neglect in front of me told a different story. I grabbed my tools, rags, and chain lubricant, and continued to wonder how I could have missed this gradual change until it was almost too late. Unfortunately, the other concerns in life can often take precedence and this simple but important job can be forgotten or continually pushed down the priority list. I had forgotten the chain, and I had taken it for granted. I failed to recognize that despite my many years of riding experience, despite the amount of horse power being put out by the engine, or despite any number of other factors which make up the whole of the motorcycle, none of it meant anything without the chain. I had neglected this critical part to the point where it could have easily broken loose, snapped or caused damage to me, the motorcycle, and even those around me. As I carefully cleaned the rings and grabbed my wrenches to adjust the tension, I couldn’t help but think what other areas in my life had suffered from unintended neglect.
Who had I taken for granted and failed to “maintain” with simple gestures of gratitude and kindness. Do I take anyone for granted and assume that things will always function without any input on my part? Unfortunately several people came immediately to my mind, but none forcefully than the image of my loving and devoted wife. How often do I take her for granted and fail to recognize her as the chain that keeps all other parts of my life running so smoothly? While I’m caught up with various family, work, or selfish concerns, I often unintentionally forget to put her happiness before that of my own. I’m always quick to tell her about the craziness of my day, or how tired I am after my long commute, but how often do I take the time to ask about hers? How often do I take the time to not only ask, but to sincerely listen and be there for her emotionally? How often do I put my own cares aside for a moment and offer to really help her in whatever things might be concerning her? How often to I seek for clues to those hidden needs, wants, or desires that she may not be telling me, but so desperately wants me to figure out. Like a motorcycle chain, the stress and rigors of our daily life are borne by her without complaint, and with a dutiful dependability that can often be overlooked or under-appreciated. Sometimes in my pride and arrogance I think I know what’s best, and I tell her that I know a better way, while at the same time failing to see that she already knows the way. In reality she leads me by her example. She always has.
Doesn’t she already do all of these things? Who has a full-time job teaching boisterous 5-year olds, yet patiently listens to my day instead of interjecting with the craziness of her own? Who tells me to relax when I get home and just put my feet up while she finishes making my dinner? Who does the laundry and picks my shirts up from the dry cleaners? Who sacrifices her own sleep to stay up and talk with me in the middle of the night when I have trouble sleeping? Who tells me how much she loves me and how handsome I am multiple times a day? --OK, the handsome part may not be true, but due to the frequency of repetition, I’m almost starting to believe it.-- :) Who accepts and loves me for who I am and doesn’t try to change or mold me? Who truly looks out for my happiness above her own?
My beautiful wife does, that’s who. Thanks to her, the love of my life, my chain is pristine. All of the elements in my life flow smoothly because of her. She goes beyond periodic routine maintenance, and makes it part of every moment and every interaction we have together. If other men could only be so lucky.