It might have been there for months, but I started to notice it around Thanksgiving, when the temperature started dropping and swirling winds blew the leaves around from raked piles near the sidewalk; a motorcycle, a cruiser style.
A Honda REBEL.
It was parked casually across the street from where I live. Didn’t it know that it didn’t belong on a midwestern street in December? Didn’t it know it was bad for its shiny finish to be so exposed to the elements, when the thermometer was flirting with freezing temps?
Didn’t it know it belonged in a garage, or, at least, under a tarp?
Or, wasn’t that the point? Being so open and unabashedly itself — in plain view? Against expectations and norms?
My mind retrieved the image of James Dean astride one of his legendary rides. It was rumored that he drove Jack Warner crazy during the filming of “Rebel Without a Cause” racing his motorcycle around the backlot.
His movie character, Jim Stark, became a symbol for the trials of middle-class teenagers feeling their way into their own lives and identities. It’s funny, in retrospect, to think that Dean and the other troubled teens that occupied the story were considered to represent the “moral decay” of society.
Their parents might have considered their children’s acts of rebellion unprovoked. But rather than categorizing them as juvenile delinquents, their behaviors, considering their less than “Ozzie and Harriet” family lives, seem very understandable.
I looked at this motorcycle, this Rebel, standing alone on a cold December afternoon for several minutes.
After James Dean, I thought about Jesus.
I was not raised to think of Jesus as the Son of God, nor am I a fan of the Church, but I feel an affinity for many of his teachings.
Love your neighbor. God loves you unconditionally. Live simply so that others can simply live…
I also see Jesus as a “rebel,” as the consummate DISRUPTER. To the men in charge, to the local rabbis and to Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor of Judea, he may have appeared to have little reason to stir things up so, inadequate “cause” for rejecting the institutions of his day.
But he did. He went against the norms and spoke in new ways. He seemed less interested in avoiding personal suffering than in encouraging others to believe in hope and love.
I’m not suggesting everyone has the power to affect the world in a such a way, but I belief there would be many benefits if people embraced their inner rebel more, if people could step into the role of being a disruptor.
I think it would be great if people listened to their own truth and practiced radical acceptance.
Wouldn’t it be great if people judged others and themselves less, if they pursued opportunities to grow more readily than step into habitual distractions or benign actions to avoid discomfort, if they cared less about pleasing others?
Of course, I’m speaking of myself.
I can’t help but think differently than others in the demographic groups in which I am usually included.
Expressing my point of view has become more important to me than growing an audience, at least if in growing an audience, I lose touch with my own delight.
It’s not that in not gearing my decisions to what is “trending,” I am rebelling for the sake of rejecting something.
I’m just remembering that being myself is serving another purpose, a “cause,” even if I don’t know what that is.
Trusting that everything that happens serves LIFE is no small thing