Sunday, April 8, 2012

Good Friday, The Extraordinary And The Tail Of The Dragon

I'm sure this will sound to some like a cheap excuse to ride my motorcycle, but I hope that you can see that God really is in all things and whatever way you find wonder in life, God is there. Anyway, having Good Friday off from work I went out on my very favorite motorcycle ride.
I head out onto Highway 11 in a section known as Dixie Lee Highway. Nice sweepers lead you to the north side of Lenoir City. From there head out on TN 321 and some amazing views. First you cross the Tennessee River and then onto Maryville and direct views of the East Tennessee foothills. This day, they were a deep green from all of the spring rain we've had. Past Maryville you head up to the Foothills Parkway. This stretch of road in of itself is a great motorcycle ride. Big sweepers with lots of turnouts to enjoy the views. On one side, there's the Tennessee Valley and on the other, the foothills and valleys that make up the West side of the Smoky Mountains. This is a unique and scenic area that one has to be there to appreciate. My analogy for this part of the ride is getting to have Luther Vandross open up for the Commodores: great in of itself and a taste of even greater things to come. BTW, I did get to see that very act one time in my youth. Pretty darn great show!

Well, after the Parkway comes a short ride along Chilhowee Lake (what a view!). This leads to the main attraction: Deals Gap, aka the Tail Of The Dragon. 318 curves in 11 miles. A motorcycle riders dream ride. People from around the world come to ride this road and for good reason. It requires good to great command of your motorcycle, total concentration and the chance to have a ton of fun! My friend once described it as riding a roller coaster on your motorcycle.

I rode the Dragon several times on Good Friday and as with every time I ride it, something quite spiritual happens there. You see, riding a motorcycle requires all of your physical body to maneuver the bike and this road requires total concentration. Along with that the twists and turn gives one an almost "oneness" with the bike, the road, and your mind. For some reason, God in His greatness likes to meet me there in a deep spiritual way. I can't seem to describe it, but it's almost euphoric yet peaceful. In my mind I ask, "Is that you God?" I get an emphatic "Yes, I'm right here!" I deeply smile when this happens.
I think all of my life I've desperately tried to find ways to really connect with God. It's a longing born out of the depths of hurt that I experienced through out life. It's part of the deep regrets one has for all of the past. Don't we all want to just be deeply loved by the Father?
My friend and pastor Mike Brackney asked when have we ever truly experienced God? I know that there are many different places in my life I've had that all too fleeting feeling, one of the deepest is on a windy road in the hills on the Tennessee/North Carolina border. What I've learned is that in all things my great Heavenly Father is there. Perhaps in some places deeper than others, but my encouragement to you is to find the One who deeply loves you in your journey in life. I think God desires for us to find Him in surprising places and when we do find Him, I know that He is smiling.
So if you see me out on the Dragon, know that I'm not alone and also you'll know why there's a smile on my face.

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