It’s just cold enough for me to lean into him, my neck muscles taut as I press my chin to the top of his spine.
I can’t see well; I wear my sunglasses to keep the wind off my eyes. It’s dusk, and the shade is deeper behind my cheap Target aviators. Even behind the lenses, my eyes are watering.
He lets his left arm hang straight down, parallel to my leg. He clasps my ankle with his hands. I didn’t think ahead and wore my imitation Sperry’s, no socks. Not enough protection.
He squeezes gently, and I relax. I lean my head back and the wind hits me, hard. It’s noisy and it’s cold and I can’t see and we’re pushing sixty miles an hour down an open rode.
But his hand is on my leg, and I lean back. I close my eyes and all my senses take in are the rushing wind and the noise and the chill.
His hand is on my leg, and it’s loud – so loud I don’t even hear the whomp whomp whomp of the muffler over the wind. My head rests at a delicate angle, and all I feel is motion.
I let go. I relax and I lean away and I’m into the motion and the sound and I let go. In the midst of danger, twenty-four inches from pavement that would not yield were our two wheels to fail, I risk the relinquishing of control. I trust him. He controls the steering, he commands the acceleration, he maintains balance for both of us. I am only a passenger.
His hand is on my leg, steady, warm. He cannot look at me – his focus is ahead, on the road – but he reminds me that he is there. He reminds me that he’s got this, that he is comfortable enough to navigate speed and balance and stopping and starting on this thousand-pound machine, all the while keeping one hand on me. Not for his balance, but to steady me.
I let go, and relax, and I feel the Spirit move in me.
And I get it. In the midst of my life and my work, in the middle of a calling that many would tell me can not be because I am not a man, in my own wrestling and questioning and all above and around the working out of my salvation with much fear and trembling, I get it.
I understand submission.
The man who navigates the chilly dusk of a Friday night steadies me. He makes a place for me to trust him. He shows me that he is trustworthy. And, of all things, in all places, this scripture becomes truth to me: “Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also should wives submit to their husbands in everything.”
In a way I have never experienced before, on the back of a motorcycle, I see the image Paul painted here; the dependency and trust offered my husband as an encouragement for me to submit to Christ in the same way.
This is not so much a thing that you can tell me I must do. This is not really a lifestyle, or a cultural norm. It is Biblical truth that comes through faith and through the power of the word and by grace. And it is positive, overflowing with the good that comes from a beautiful act of love; I cannot, for the life of me, read into these words any admonition for all that I must not do.
I am so thankful for this, the way God moves (in such mysterious ways) to invite me into submission on the back of a Harley.
With his hand on my leg.