I Once Owned a Motorcycle
And Joseph said to his brothers, “I am Joseph! Is my father still alive?” But his brothers could not answer him, for they were dismayed at his presence. Genesis 45:3
I once had a motorcycle, way back when I was young, dumb, and single. My parents advised against it, concerned about my safety, but I wasn’t concerned. I erroneously believed that accidents were avoidable. Then one day, while riding on a mountain road, I came around a corner and hit a patch of washed-out pavement. Before I knew it, I dumped my bike and slid down into the grassy ditch. I was unharmed, but I was shaken. It just happened so fast. There was nothing I could have done to avoid it . . . except not be on that motorcycle. Up to that day, I loved riding my motorcycle. After that day, I lost all interest. The fall was just so terrifying. I sold my motorcycle shortly afterwards and I’ve never had the desire to ride since. And you know what? I’ve never been involved in another motorcycle accident. It turns out, crashing a motorcycle is a 100% avoidable behavior.
I had a similar feeling when my life fell apart due to my addiction. I once thought I could use drugs and get away with it, but one day, my life just exploded. Suddenly losing my job felt like wiping out on that motorcycle. My life was in free fall, and I couldn’t stop it. It was terrifying. The only way I could have avoided that disaster was to not get addicted in the first place, but by that point, it was too late.
So, I have a little sympathy for Joseph’s brothers in today’s passage. Year prior, they’d sold Joseph into Egyptian slavery, thinking they’d rid themselves of him forever. Instead, Joseph became a powerful figure in Egyptian politics. When the brothers traveled to Egypt to buy grain, they didn’t recognize him, until he revealed himself. I can only imagine what a sickening feeling it was when they realized their past had caught up with them. Oh no. Joseph is alive, and he now holds our lives in his hands. At that moment, there was nothing they could do. They’d set the wheels in motion years before and there was no avoiding this terrible reckoning.
There’s a lesson to be learned from my motorcycle wreck and from Joseph’s brothers. This isn’t a rant against motorcycles. I don’t care if you own one. My point is simply that some disasters are preventable. For me, this means that if I want to avoid the self-destruction of addiction, I must daily do whatever it takes to remain sober. I like my new life of faith and recovery. So daily, I’m going to do whatever it takes to stay here. The only way to guarantee that I never go back to the disaster of my addiction, is to never begin using again. Some disasters are preventable.