A motorcycle rider with bad teeth is the leader of the plaque.

Today is a triumphant day. A day of fulfilled dreams, resolved longing, and schoolboy-like glee. A day where ladies shriek with utter elation, and men may even be obliged to shed a proud tear or two. Where angels sing songs of jubilation, and all of creation joins in the sweet melody.

Today, Jon got his motorcycle.

We left at 9am for the bustling metropolis of Big Bend, Wisconsin to acquire his hog. As we pulled in to the baronial parking lot of "Road, Track, & Trail", one could see the joyous delirium clearly escalate on Jon's face as his eyes caught the glint of the myriad of motorcycles before him.

We entered this mecca of motors and were met with the nectarous scent of gasoline, rubber, and immaculate giddiness. Throughout the shop zombie-men wandered in a hypnotic state of transfixion as their reluctant wives and children followed closely behind, uncertain as to whether they had any vote in the matter. I can only hope they didn't catch me giggle as I watched.

Men stood and admired these magnificent arrangements of metal much like a curator would if met with an original Monet, or a small child after spotting a nearby mud-hole. It was truly remarkable to observe so many people in such a state of ecstasy. We sure do love our toys.

After strolling the store for awhile, Jon finally connected with his dealer. He was told that the bike he had arranged in advance to buy hadn't yet been prepared, and that it would be another forty-five minutes before it would be ready for him. The proverbial lollipop had been taken from the eager boy's hand and placed on a nearby shelf just out of his ardent reach. It was heartbreaking, really.

In light of this news, we decided to do ourselves a favor and find some sort of local cuisine. We eventually decided on "Busy B's Cafe" as our location because honestly, who can resist an adorable name like that?

Busy B's was exactly what we hoped it would be. An adorably quaint diner of sorts that sold pizza puffs by the pound and started serving fish fry at 11am every Friday. Jackpot. We feasted on delicious local fare, shared stories, and even experienced the most bewildering maze of 70's bathroom accommodations I've ever experienced. But Jon's anticipation continued to grow.

We arrived back at good 'ol RTT, and Jon's dream was almost a reality. With the bike now lowered, all that stood between him and the open road was a small pile of paperwork. Not wanting to miss his big first take off, we sneakily followed him and the dealer to the back loading dock where his chariot awaited. As we stood at a distance watching Jon receive his instructions, Priscilla lamented over how much she wanted to smoke. She had the cigarette, but the lighter was all the way on the other side of the building inside Jon's car. Not wanting to miss his big take-off, we anxiously waited, until she could wait no longer.

We asked Jon for his keys, ran through the showroom, and dove into Jon's car to search for the elusive flame maker. As I was searching for the car lighter to no avail, Priscilla found an empty pack of Newport cigarettes in the door pocket. She held the pack up to me with an extremely perplexed expression because we both knew that Jon didn't smoke. I shrugged my shoulders, and we continued to search until I found a second pack of Newports in the center console. I showed her my findings with the same expression of puzzlement, and she started to laugh. As we continued to fervently search, Jon popped his head out from inside the shop and yelled "Guys! That's not my car!"

In a mess of hysterical laughter, we quickly stumbled out of this apparent strangers vehicle and onto the nearby grass. This went on for quite some time before either of us even had the ability to form anything remotely close to an English word.

"How did we not know this wasn't Jon's car?" one of us stuttered. "We were just in that car four minutes ago!" "What would have happened if the owner came out and found us searching through his car? I would've responded as if he was crazy, not me!"

As we stammered back and forth about the shear ridiculousness of our oversight, customers simply looked on in confused embarrassment. It was like being on an extremely jagged roller coaster at high speeds that you cannot get off. We simply could not regain composure.

We finally calmed down a bit and met Jon on the side of the building with his new prize. It was so regal how he put on his jacket and helmet for the firs time, like how a King prepared before a battle. He was nervous, but the thrill of what to come was already visibly exhilarating for him. As we watched cautiously ride up and down the parking lot and local side streets for a while, something from a conversation earlier that day clicked for me.

We had been talking about the exhaustion of being around people that only seem to want to talk about themselves. It's not that these people aren't dear, humorous, fun, and refreshing, but they often have difficulty ever listening to anyone's story, or showing compassion to anyone's difficulties. They often seem unable to pick up on the otherwise obvious kinesics of a person in need of some understand or care, and can often belittle others through harsh criticism, or lack of reaction all together.

I can be this person. We all can. And that's where the click came.

The reason that we didn't deduce that the vehicle we were searching wasn't our own, was because we were so engrossed in what it was that we were looking for. Our total commitment to getting what we wanted left us blind to our surroundings.

And I do that. We all do that.

Often what we're absorbed by isn't inherently evil, or even bad at all necessarily, but still frequently prevents us from truly having open eyes to the hurts, struggles, and heartache all around us. When we're constantly infatuated by our own goals, needs, and difficulties, it becomes impossible for us to truly engage the very real need of people all around us. We essentially become sightless to our own environment.

When our biggest inconvenience is a temporarily indolent internet connection, or difficulty in finding a parking spot, you can bet that we are a likely candidate for someone who has lost perspective.

When Christ said "I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full" (John 10:10b), I truly believe that the fullness He mentions includes pain, struggle, and affliction just as much as their counterparts. The restoration that Christ offers beckons us to append ourselves to the true fullness of life, experiencing both ends of the spectrum more absolutely, because that is precisely what He did for us.

I deeply long to have the blinders of my opulence removed so that in grace and truth, I can begin to walk the glorious, bloody path of the cross. I hope that I can set aside my own agendas for the mission Christ has called me to. I pray that by the grace of God, I can begin to not only see, but engage with humanity in manner befitting of the gospel.

And may we all join in the dance of restorative justice as we live in the humble truth of who we are, and whose we are.

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