the hog father

Random Thoughts

Change of Pace

Well, when I began this journey of blogging, I said that I had three things that I had grown passionate about — malaria, hunger, and motorcycles. So for a change of past today I want to share a little about my passion for motorcycles.

Skyline Ride 09/2010

A number of years ago, my younger brother purchased his first motorcycle. It was a well used Yamaha. At some point he lost his mind and let me ride it. As I prepared to ride off, he cautioned me to be sure to check the oil when I stopped for fuel. Being as the only thing I had put oil in was my car and lawn equipment this got interesting.

His bike had an oil plug that looked like the one on my mower. I opened it, looked in and did not see oil — must be low. So I went into the store, bought a quart and put it in. I still didn’t see oil. Quart #2 went in. Still no oil visible. Quart #3 was added and still no oil, but surely after 3 quarts it was full enough? After all, a car doesn’t take much more and a bike was a much smaller engine.

As I rode off confident I had taken care of the issue, I got a real surprise. The bike began to sputter, smoke and sputter, and SMOKE. Then it died. I coasted to the shoulder, re-set the switches and tried to re-start the motor. No go. Waited a few minutes and tried again. Almost! I waited longer this time and was rewarded with it starting. I pulled out and began heading on my way — and then it began to smoke, sputter, and smoke, and sputter and it died again.

This is before mobile phones so I had to walk to a phone and call my brother. He was not pleased to say the least. He got my car and headed out to rescue me — 45 minutes away.

He got there and began to take charge of the situation. He looked in the oil fill hole, checked the fuel, made sure I hadn’t accidentally tripped the “Kill” switch. Then got on and hit the starter — it cranked! We headed down the road with him on the bike and me following him. It went well for a mile or two and then — it sputtered, smoked, sputtered, smoked, and died.

Blue Ridge Parkway Ride 09/2010

We did this several more times before we got to my parent’s home. There he had tools and a safer place to begin looking for the problem. The first thing he checked was the oil level. He stated that it looked a little full. I told him what I had done and he actually rolled his eyes and groaned! I mean, I put oil in it like he told me to. He opened the drain plug on the bike and drained what seemed like a gallon of oil out of the bike before he stopped. Then he called me over and began to show me a little “window” on the side of the motor. It was cute. I had never seen a window on the motor before.

He then taught me a very important lesson. On a motorcycle, and other engines I learned, there is something called a sight glass. It is a little clear glass window where you can see how much oil you have in the motor. You only want to fluid level to come up half-way in the window. Trying to be a good brother and do as I had been asked — I had OVER done it.

You know — if he had taken the time to make sure I knew how to check the oil level none of this would have happened. And if I had checked to be sure I knew how to check the oil in a motorcycle it would have been different as well.

Blue Ridge Parkway Ride 09/2010

Its kind of like life in general. Sometimes we ask people in our lives to do something. It doesn’t have to be difficult. And then we don’t make sure we have communicated our need clearly.

Or we are the one being asked and it seems simple so we agree without making sure we know how to do what we have been asked to do correctly. Maybe it’s ego, maybe its just a sense that we can figure it out ourselves.

We need to be very clear when we communicate. It is the little things that trip us up. We forget to be clear, concise, or exact. And we fail to ask questions to clarify, confirm or learn.

In this case I almost destroyed my brother’s motorcycle. In other settings we can cause much more damage — to people or property. And we cannot always just apologize and it’s all better. Unrepairable damage can result.

How many well-meaning Christians have made a statement, responded to a comment, or action with a less than Christ-like attitude or behavior? And the person that was hurt gives up on a community of faith, faith, God and a Christ-like life?

It’s not about membership numbers. It’s about not hurting our brothers and sisters and driving them AWAY from the family of God. We need to careful. We need to be ready to apologize and make amends. We need to work at redeeming those relationships that have been broken and bring our family back together.

Hummmmmm — how did I get to that lesson from a story about a motorcycle????

Until the next time…..The Hog Father



  1. Dave Shelby

    You say “How many well-meaning Christians have made a statement, responded to a comment, or action with a less than Christ-like attitude or behavior? And the person that was hurt gives up on a community of faith, faith, God and a Christ-like life?” so I hope that that my comment won’t be taken in a negative way.

    I believe that it’s Christian to feed the living who can’t feed themselves because of circumstances beyond their control. Many people are attempting to feed an ever increasing number of these people, but they do so with little or no thought to stopping this train! Shouldn’t we try just as hard to change what caused this situation?

    There are various causes. Most of us know what they are. [edited]

    • Dave,
      This is one of the unexpected outcomes of the Stop Hunger Now program. If the schools (where 90% of the meals are served) feed the kids, the parents let them attend. If they attend, they get an education which helps them break the cycle of poverty as they have knowledge and skills to advance beyond their circumstances. If the girls attend, they also get fed and educated and my understanding is that this leads to reducing the birth rate by 50%. If you reduce the number of persons trying to live off a land with insufficient resources, those resources go further and provide a better standard of life for those living in the region. And all of this for only 25 cents a meal.

  2. Skip Hughes

    Very well said!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: