It has been promoted & has pretty much become common knowledge that during the latter holidays of a year on towards the first few days a new calendar year, basically from Thanksgiving to New Year, more people suffer from the mood disorder known as depression than any other segment of the year. The World Health Organization estimates that approximately 350 million people around the world suffer from this dreaded disease. It is also because of this very real disorder that attempted & successful suicides soar during this time of year. Most who encounter it feel like it is a passing season in their life & that they can outrun or handle it on their own. However, it is a very complex psychological state that imposes many physiological effects on the sufferer & prevents them from being able to function properly and/or routinely.
Let me say from the outset that I believe in the miracle-working power of God & His ability to unequivocally heal any individual overwhelmed with the clouds that depression brings. However, it has been my experience that the majority of the people that I have seen endure & overcome depression most have overcome the hopelessness of depressive despair by working & drawing strength through the resources of an outside source. Some of the things that I have found to help are:
- Talking with your pastor, doctor or a licensed counselor
- Attending regular church & worship services
- Releasing grudges & forgiving those who have hurt you
- Building a consistent prayer life
- Maintaining a personal relationship with the Word of God
- Reducing the stress (& drama) in your life
For those of us who have dealt with or know the reality of what it means to suffer with the gloominess of this very real illness, we also know that those who are hurting usually never ask for help or advice. Whether it is out of pride, denial or ‘simply not wanting to bother anyone with their problems’, the seriousness of the outcome can be the same. So the purpose of this article is to help educate & remind everyone to be on the lookout for those around you who may be suffering. Here are ten common warning signs:
- Continual sadness
- An attitude of self-loathing
- Loss of interest in activities
- Irritability & isolationism
- Loss of energy
- Disturbed sleep patterns
- Changes in appetite or body weight
- Uncommon reckless behavior
- Suicidal tendencies
If you’re suffering from depression, please contact any of your ASR Chaplains. We would all be happy to talk to you & help you through the effects of this issue. You are not alone.
For the rest of those reading this article, during this Christmas & holiday season, please listen & pay attention to those around you. Your intervention & gentle words of encouragement may not just save a soul. It may save a life.
Evangelist Robert E. Eades
ASR National Chaplain
(502) 750-2174 (call or text)
Theo’s Zen And The Art of Motorcycle Riding
Fear can kill you – it leads to riders freezing at their controls in an emergency and taking no corrective action whatever. It leads to doubts that are self-fulfilling. “I can’t make that turn!” Finally, it leads to dangerous reactions such as ‘grabbing a handful of brake lever’ instead of doing a CONTROLLED panic stop.
But we, ALL OF US, were afraid to begin with. How to get over it should be the question you answer because by observation you know that virtually all of us did just that.
My suggestions are simple:
- Convert fear into respect. Understand and acknowledge that the sport is dangerous and that what you must do to survive it is UNDERSTAND everything you can about it. Ignorance is the cause of a great deal of fear.
- Make sure that the motorcycle is ALWAYS mechanically sound. Your life depends on just two wheels, it only makes sense to insure that they are well maintained.
- Practice and then practice some more. Practice in all kinds of environments, not just a parking lot. Practice in the rain. Practice on gravel. Practice on dirt. Practice stopping and starting on a hill. Practice stopping quickly (in a parking lot!) Practice going fast (speed limited by law.) Practice going SLOW – this IS important!
- Be prepared. You cannot practice enough to have experienced everything – the car that moves into your lane at freeway speeds should be an event that is new to you. The unexpected does happen – often. Sometimes, unfortunately, things break – even if properly maintained. In other words, you should assume that sooner or later you will find yourself getting off your motorcycle unintentionally (it falls over in a parking lot with ten of your friends watching you.) You should be dressed to not only survive that experience, but so that you will be uninjured or minimally affected by that dismount.
Now, to go back … your objective should be to convert fear into respect. I do not mean respect merely of the dangers or of your motorcycle – those are the least of it. You need to develop a respect of YOURSELF – an absolute regard for your ability to CONTROL the motorcycle at all times. An immense pride in YOUR ability to make it – that is, that 100 horsepower machine – do exactly what YOU want it to do.
When that happens, you have won.
It is not for no reason that we ride our motorcycles with grins on our faces.
Keep, that contact Patch between the lines.
National Road Captain
All Roads Are Not Alike Tourers take note
Those of us that tour with our motorcycles have learned something about the roads across the country that might not be obvious – they are all different.
I mean that they are made of different materials, the quality of their surfaces varies considerably, they might be pristine and immaculate in one place only to become pot-holed war zones a few miles farther along.
The curves in one section of a road can be well lighted, perfectly banked, and of consistent radius while only a mile away a similar curve can be dark, decreasing radius, covered with ‘tar snakes’, and have roadside weeds higher than your head.
It seems to me that what we are seeing is simply a manifestation of the very real differences in County and State wealth and quality of their various maintenance personnel.
The Interstates are consistent in quality and design. The various State and County roads are not.
So, the message here should be obvious: As you cross a County line be sure to be ready for changes in road surface and quality. Slow down and experience the workmanship and care of the roads in a new County for a few miles before believing that you can take that next blind curve as fast as you are used to driving.
National Road Captain
With the signs of fall all around and winter quickly approaching I am reminded that, with the exceptions of a few blessed souls living in the southern states, our riding is limited to a few days between now and spring. I am also reminded that, even during the winter months, the Azusa StreetRiders is a ministry. The motorcycle is simply a tool that is utilized in our ministry. Even though we must endure the winter months with limited riding, our ministry can and must still flourish. Here are just a few quick ideas to help retain our focus until spring.
Connect / follow up with contacts, acquaintances, and friends made during this past riding season. Use the winter months to build a friendship and relationship with those that you have been able to meet over the last few months. This is also the perfect time to teach Bible studies to these individuals. Prepare them for continued fellowship throughout the upcoming riding season. Remember that even as we use our motorcycles as the tool to connect with people, God desires to use US as the tool to lead them to Him!!
This is also a time that we can prepare our chapters for continued outreach during the next riding season. This can be a time to brainstorm ways to improve and build upon the current ideas that were utilized during this past year. It can also be a time of preparation to implement new ideas and strategies that will spur new growth and relationships this upcoming year.
Above all, we must remember that our walk with God supersedes our ministry. It is of upmost importance that we remember that it is all about Him. As we grow our relationship with Him, our personal ministry will be a byproduct of our love for Him. We must allow Him to prepare us for our ministry by spending time with Him and becoming like Him. Although this must be our primary focus year round, the winter months are a great time to spend a little “extra” time with Him while we don’t have the distractions of summer.
Although we may have to put the kickstands down for a few days, we can ill afford to allow this to be a time of dormancy for the ASR. The ministry must continue strong through the winter months. I encourage you to not limit your ministry within the ASR to the time that you are on your bike or to a specific season of the year. There is still work to be done. “The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few.”
Azusa StreetRiders International