Four weeks from the day this post is written, I’ll head north to Montana to meet Jerry, and then east to Duluth, and then west to meet Mick and Brad, and we’ll all journey to Banff and Jasper. Then home. About 16 days, 4,500 miles, and the first day will feature a solo attempt at an Iron Butt ride—1,000 miles in 1 day on 2 wheels. And because life has taught me that Murphy, famed for his law “If anything can go wrong it will,” was an optimist, I’m getting ready now.
Before then, we’ll have seven nights of overnight guests, and like Murphy said, things go south in a hurry, so last week I put the bike in the shop for new rubber, to fix a wobble in the forks and a tune up. When I bought the bike 4 years ago, I also purchased a “throttle lock,” that black arm with a lever in the pic. It holds the throttle in place, but not the speed. However, it never would tighten up, and we usually ride curvy roads, so I ignored its lack of functioning. But heading north on I-15, a straight shot with speed limits up to 80 mph, almost begs for a functioning cruise to avoid cramping a hand.
So I tried, again, to tighten the bolts. It remained too loose. I then added a washer on the bolts between the upper and lower clamps as a spacer, no go. Another, still no go. A third gave the same result. Frustrated and realizing I had traveled down a rabbit hole, I stopped and dissembled both the cruise control and the master cylinder, that aluminum piece with LOWER etched in. Took it all apart, and looked again.
The previous owner installed new handlebars, with a different diameter. Smaller. So instead of spacers on the bolts, which worsened the problem, I need a spacer in between the upper bracket and the bar. I found a plastic electric box extender, trimmed it to fit, reinstalled it all, and the bike is now ready to take off. With four weeks to spare. Ready for Murphy to strike.
An unexpected lesson from this—we can choose bad directions. Duh. But some we can tweak and fix. I made some bad decisions that have hurt our marriage, but rather than walking away we worked on the issues and have a healthy marriage. But when we can’t get back on track, wisdom can mean we walk away and start fresh, go back to our beginning. We don’t necessarily give up the goal, we just change our methods. Some of my pastorates have fit into that category. In every one I planned on retiring from it, but when I learned the fit wasn’t good and was integral to the church and myself, spiritual health made it clear to start fresh. Some volunteer ministries have fit that model as well.
A New Testament church had that experience. Jesus spoke to followers in Ephesus who began fine. But they drifted, and rather than tweaking, Jesus commanded they go back, “I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love. Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first” (Revelation 2:4-5).
Or, like I went back and took apart the cruise control and analyzed it, sometimes we need to go back. To start fresh. Rather than reforming ineffective behaviors and habits and thoughts, we start over.
Kick Starting the Application
Think back to a time you tried repeatedly to fix something that couldn’t be fixed. Why did you continue? What were the results? How could it have gone better? Now, think of when you did all you could, realized it wouldn’t work, and started fresh. How did that work out? What role does God play in this process for you?