Yesterday, this Dallas Motorcycle Lifestyle Examiner was sharing my first experience at an outlaw biker rally. In all actually, I only thought it was an outlaw rally – however it was an A.B.A.T.E. rally but no one under 21 was allowed. Looking back at my sheltered past (no smoking, no alcohol, no cussing, no dancing, no movie theaters, no cable TV, never been inside a bar, etc) I certainly wasn’t one that could tell the difference.
Side bar - most states have dropped the A.B.A.T.E. acronym that used to stand for A Brotherhood Against Totalitarian Enactments. Here in Texas, the tytle of this organization is Texas ABATE Confederation, Inc. and ABATE now stands for American Bikers Aimed Toward Education.
We left off with me throwing my determined shoulders back and prancing out into the campgrounds intent on finding someone that would talk to me . . . and this is where we pick back up with the story:
As I approached the camping area, I slowed my pace walking closely by the campsites to show friendliness but not intrusion. Desiring to greet people, I looked for someone that I could make eye contact with.
What I found were people that either refused to look my way or people that looked at me with disgust. On the rare occasion that I found someone to lock eyes with, it reminded me of the look you get from your child when you have just disciplined them harshly. You know how some children will have the eyes of a broken heart and others will have eyes of anger and rebellion. But both children will reflect pain in their eyes. These were my observations that morning.
Confused, I was just about to give up when some people responded to my greeting. One man began to tell me of his children at home and the desires he had for them to have a better life than he had.
He inquired after the Christian rallies and stated how it would be nice to be able to go to a rally that was decent enough for his young children to enjoy. He seemed to be surprised when I told him he would be welcome to attend the Christian rallies. I told him the Christians would accept him with open arms. He showed me pictures of his children with great love and pride.
Then the girl with the defiant boot at the tree walked up. Arms crossed, her body language shouted loud and clear ‘You’re not getting close to me.’
“So God loves me, does he?” She stated bluntly.
“Yes He does”. I responded matter-of-factly.
“Well how come you Christians kicked me out of church when I was 13 because I was pregnant?” She challenged.
“Kicked you out of Church?” I questioned with astonishment.
“Yeah . . . they said they didn’t want me around their kids,” she continued, “being pregnant and all.” She finished. “No one ever asked me who the father was. Maybe they didn’t want to know or maybe they knew and wanted to hide it.”
In silence I listened and waited for her to continue.
“The father was my uncle; a deacon in their church!” She spat the words out as if she wanted to splatter them in my face. “They didn’t make HIM leave the church . . . so now you come here to my world, to my people and try to preach this ‘God loves me s___!” she challenged, “And I’m supposed to say glory, hallelujah and repent of my sins?” She concluded.
With my mouth still agape, I searched for the proper defense . . . I had none. How could I defend the people in my world of such an atrocity? No wonder these people didn’t want to let us close to them. We had been the source of their pain and we had done it in the name of God.
All of a sudden, I felt God zipping me open and giving me a good hard look at the pride and haughty spirit lurking inside me. There was a puritanical, holier-than-thou, nose in the air, religious person inside and I never realized it. “Oh no, God, is that really what’s inside of me?” I thought.
When I saw what was creeping around inside my heart that morning . . . I didn’t like me.
Verbally stumbling around, groping for the right words, I tried to minister love to her. When it was time to go, she was beginning to warm up, however, she said she would probably never go back to a church again, but she would look for Christian motorcycle ministries at the biker runs. She might feel safe that way and maybe that could become her church.
As our big diesel bus cranked up I rushed back toward my beckoning husband that was telling me to hurry up. Unwillingly, I ran toward the bus, being torn from the girl that I wanted to put in my pocket and take home. I needed more time to try to get her to understand that Jesus wasn’t the perpetrator of her wound . . . He just wanted to repair her hurt.
My emotions were churning; not wanting to leave because the shell around the girl was beginning to crack so some of Jesus’ love could be planted. I could only pray for God to send someone else along to plant that seed and maybe someone else to water and harvest it.
Reluctantly I stepped up into the bus as the bus began to roar away. A big cloud of dust from the dirt road was churning behind it as we pulled away from the pavilion.
My heart was crushed and hurting from the new revelation of the sheltered person I had been all this time. “If I only had a little more time with her!” my thoughts lamented. As I sat there, tears were creating cry streaks in my makeup and dripping from my chin.
“Mom!” my son, Keith yelled. “Look behind us.” calling my attention to the 5 or 6 people running along beside the bus in the cloud of dust. “They’re waving goodbye.” Keith concluded.
Jumping up, I slid the bus window open and leaned out to waive back. There they were! Both of them! The man I had spoken with and the young girl that had opened her hurting heart to me. My wet cry streaks were now mixing with the gritty dust in the air. I was touching fingers with the girl as she reached for my hand saying, “Bye, we’ll see you next year.”
“Get back in here, Sharon!” my husband demanded. “I can’t believe you’re hanging out of the bus like that!” he said while shaking his head. I was always a source of frustration and embarrassment to him in his attempt to appear to be a dignified, ‘holy man of God’.
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