I had the pleasure of my first visit to a motor cross race recently. No! I wasn’t racing. I helped members of the local Christian Motorcyclist Association hand out free cups of iced water and sweet tea to spectators and motor cross racers at the N.C. Motorsports Park. The motorcyclist especially enjoyed the wet towels soaked in iced water.
Our tent was set up right next to the track. Nothing separated us from the track except for a wooden fence. I had a front row seat to all of the racing action at the last banked curve and final two jumps. It was amazing to watch the competitors roar across the dirt track and then catch air on those final two jumps. My breath would catch in my throat when the eight to ten year old riders hit the throttle to soar over the first red clay hump and land solidly on the other side, revving the motor even more to climb over the second mound. The older competitors cleared both mounds at once before landing.
What I was most amazed by, was the little bitty pee-wee riders. The youngest rider had just turned four years old two days prior. Why, their helmets were larger than their motorcycle tires! They didn’t “catch air.” But, one could tell they wanted to. The courage and riding skills they exhibited at such a young age was inspirational.
As I handed out cups of cold water, I had the opportunity to speak to many people, young and old. One never knows what or how conversations will transpire. I saw a rider in a florescent pink jumpsuit. Not knowing if there were any girls competing, and this being my first motor cross race, I commented to a grandmother of one of the riders about the sharp looking jumpsuit and asked if the rider was a girl. She told me she didn’t know. About 30 minutes later, a mom comes up to our tent and asks who inquired about the pink jumpsuit. (I thought to myself, “Oh no. I hope I haven’t offended someone.”) I ‘fessed up stating I was impressed by the riding skills of the person in the pink jumpsuit and wondered if the rider was a girl. Well, it was the mom’s son. She stated the jumpsuit was a surprise birthday gift because he wanted to stand out on the track and he wasn’t afraid to wear pink. We talked about fashion for a while then the conversation turned to her son’s love for the sport and how it helped him stay focused on the track and at school. I learned his name was the same as my middle name. She seemed to think because of that, we were meant to meet. Then she made her son and his girlfriend come over to meet me. We chatted for a while longer, then they hugged me ‘bye as he went back to his bike and his mom and girlfriend took her places on the sidelines, with a promise from me to pray for his safety.
One of the sweetest little want-to-be “riders” I spoke to, was a little fellow with Downs Syndrome who visited our table during intermission time. Dressed in a jumpsuit to match his big brother, Taylor and his mom stopped by for a cup of cold water. I learned he could only ride a toy motorcycle due to coordination and poor vision. I had to listen intently to understand his question for a cookie and cup of water. As he and his mother stood under our tent, another mother stepped up who also had a child at home with Downs Syndrome. The two mom’s swapped stories about their special children and the challenges they sometimes faced.
As I watched the riders “catch air”, I don’t know why, but I thought about Steve Miller’s song again Fly Like an Eagle. Perhaps it was because the riders seemed to be such free spirits as they soared over the hills. Isaiah 40:28-31 came to mind,
“Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. (NIV)
And as I thought about little Taylor, Matthew 10:42 came to mind
“And whoever in the name of a disciple gives to one of these little ones even a cup of cold water to drink, truly I say to you, he shall not lose his reward.” (NASB).
As the day wore on into the evening, I stopped worrying about how hot and sweaty and weary I was. I stopped caring that my white blouse was now the color of red dust. I saw the determination of the riders as they raced toward their goal and the sheer delight of little Taylor as he enjoyed even the simplest of pleasures as wearing a racer’s jumpsuit. I smiled inwardly knowing that Grace was reminding me of God’s promises once again.
It was my first motor cross race. But, it won’t be my last. I’m anxious to see what new things God will teach me at the next one as they catch air and I hand out cups of drink in the name of Christ’s love. The next time it may be hot cocoa and coffee!
I want to fly like and eagle. Don’t you?
Heaven Father, thank you for the reminder that you give rest to the weary, and that we can fly like an eagle…when Your spirit carries us. Help us to be that cup of cool water to those thirsting for you. In Christ name. Amen