My husband studied the weather radar. “We’ll be cutting it close,” he said. We looked at each other, smiled, and didn’t need words. The unspoken communication said, “Let’s go for it!” So we hopped on the motorcycle and drove forty minutes north to our son’s house. We had a great visit, playing with our five grandsons, grilling out, and eating at the picnic table. All the while, we kept our eyes on the bank of steel-gray clouds creeping steadily closer. And then came the moment. “It’s now or never!” Quick hugs and we were back on the bike. From my comfy seat on the back of our Gold Wing, I watched the roiling pewter clouds in the side mirrors. It felt a bit like memories of scary movies from my childhood. We were being chased by a monster. And yet, as with any scary movie, there was an element of thrill–the adrenal rush that comes with taking a calculated risk.
And there was the beauty.
Safe in our van, we would have missed the feel of the wind picking up speed, the smell of distant rain, the enormity and majesty of the brewing storm. In the east, the sun lit the sky with gold while north and west of us, angry dark clouds swirled. At one point, a laser beam of sunlight spiked through the black mass like a searchlight. A symbol of hope.
Moments after we arrived home, trees began to sway in the wind and the rain hit hard. We watched from the safety of our garage, feeling like true survivors. We made it. We outran the storm.
And created a memory.
It wasn’t a foolish risk. We watched the weather, put on our leather and packed our rain gear. We wore our helmets. But I’ll never regret that “Let’s go for it!” moment.
How many times do we miss some of the beauty and thrill God has to offer by playing it too safe? I wonder how many friendships I’ve missed out on because I was too conscious of what someone would think of me. How many opportunities to talk about Jesus were missed for the same sad reason? How many photo album pages remain empty because we didn’t step out on faith to create a memory?
Years ago, my co-author and friend Cathy Wienke and I wrote a book about a woman who was determined to face her fears by joining a team of storm chasers. We called it Dream Chasers. Though I haven’t yet stared down an oncoming tornado like our main character April, I caught a bit of the rush with this ride. And each time we face one of the monsters, it builds faith.
When’s the last time you took a risk and have the memories to prove it? Is fear holding you back from experiencing some of the joy God has to offer?