By: Dave Abrahams
Cape Town – Hundreds of riders turned out on Sunday for the annual Memorial Run to the Bikers Church in Brackenfell, honouring the memory of fellow motorcyclists who been killed on the roads of the Western Cape during the past year.
The official count, according to the Western Cape department of community safety, was 53 - which means Cape Town’s biking community have been burying at least one of their own every weekend, a number that was hard to conceptualise until Stanley Paton, Cape Town president of the Christian Motorcycle Association, began reading out the names and a family member or fellow rider of each one came forward to collect a single red rose in their honour.
Pastor George Lehman took as his theme “How to handle the hurt”; there wasn’t a single person sitting there, he said, had not been touched by a biking tragedy during the past year. But, he said, before you ask why, ask how.
There are four important steps to handling the pain of losing a loved one, he said, four “R’s” – and each one is a verb, a word of action.
Release the grief, he said, quoting Matthew 5:4, “Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted.” Don’t bottle it up inside you, it will eat you up.
Respond in prayer, he continued; don’t turn to prayer as a last resort when things go wrong. David advises us Psalm 62, “Pour out your heart before him: God is a refuge for us.” Prayer helps get a handle on your hurt, Lehman said, it brings perspective and, ultimately, peace.
Refuse to become bitter, he added. And accept what cannot be changed, as did Reinhold Niebuhr in his famous Serenity prayer, and focus on what’s left, rather than on what’s lost.
Rely on God, he concluded, quoting David again: “He is my rock.” And that rock can provide a solid foundation on which to rebuild even the most shattered of lives.
The tears that were shed at the Bikers Church yesterday were not the last, but for some they were the first, the vital first step towards handling their hurt.