A Familiar Voice

A Familiar Voice

Daytona was loud.  I enjoyed it and the weather was perfect, perhaps the best weather I’ve had in the last 20 years.  But…it was loud.  Maybe it is always loud but this year it seemed really loud.  Funny isn’t it? To think that I can have a progressive hearing loss and have trouble following ordinary conversations in a crowded room but think Daytona was loud.  It was.  Very…

One of the things that made Daytona so loud was the competing sounds.  When I started attending bike week about 20 years ago it was a singular noise.  “Loud pipes save lives” was the mantra and most bikes were really loud.  After that first year, I came back home and added a tachometer to my handlebars so I could see if my bike was even running.  The riotous sound of thunder from all the other bikes even made my insides vibrate.  I never felt the need to modify my exhaust.  Loud pipes may or may not save lives but they will certainly annoy the neighbors…and the rider if you go great distances.  I have always been a distance rider.  I want to go somewhere and see some thing.  I have ridden as far south as Key West, FL in a single trip.  Joshua and I rode into West Virginia, Ohio and Kentucky on a trip a few years back.  The drone of a bike with loud pipes along an interstate journey would be more torture to me than joy.  I am also not convinced that loud pipes save lives.  I’ve always thought the sound was behind me but what threatens me is usually in front of me and far more likely to be impressed by a bright light or loud horn pointed forward.  Instead of making my bike loud, I add a light bar and an air horn just to make sure you know I’m coming your way.

This year it seems that radios are the rage among bikers.  The pipes are loud so the radios have to be even louder.  Who thought that was a good idea?  I don’t remember hearing the bikes as much as their radios.  In traffic, I actually stopped 3 to 4 car lengths back from one bike with a particularly loud radio…it was still too loud.  In a sea of 300,000 bikes all competing to be heard, all I heard was a cacophony.  In smaller numbers maybe you could pick out the gangster rap or the heavy metal.  Surely somebody must like beach music.  I’ll never know.  I couldn’t hear anything but noise and it dawned on me…this wasn’t my tribe!

I didn’t join a lifestyle and I didn’t apply to a biker tribe.  I am not part of any motorcycle clubs or groups.  I just like to ride.  The feel of the open road and the thump of a V-Twin beneath me stirs my soul.  I am eager to get away and to escape everyday life and a motorcycle does that for me.  In Daytona, I was surrounded by bikes and the people who rode them.  I was alone.  They weren’t my tribe, and I wasn’t theirs, and their voices were indistinguishable.  We stopped for church on the way home.  We’d never been there or even close.  Yet, from the moment we walked into the building it wasn’t strange.  It was home in a way I hadn’t felt since I left Asbury Church the Sunday before.  They sang hymns and sat in pews and their accents would never be mistaken for Raleigh, NC.  It was very different from Asbury but it still felt like home.  Why?  How could this be Our Father’s House too?

In John 10:27, Jesus says his sheep hear his voice.  We know his voice.  When he speaks, the cacophony of all the other voices melt away.  His is the tribe of the redeemed and the forgiven and I have joined willfully many years ago.  I travel with Jesus and yearn for his voice.  There are many other voices and some of them very loud.  His is the best voice and comes as clear as if his were the only voice.  He doesn’t have to yell or shout.  I’d hear him anyway.  You see, I may ride a motorcycle and some would call me a biker but I am a sheep at my core.  I follow Jesus even when I’m on the road.  What about you?  Do you know his voice?  Do you hear his voice?  Feel free to share with me a time when you’ve heard his voice, either in the comments below or in a private message…

Peace & Partnership,

Tom Newman