Lynna Clark: Target fixation

Published 12:00 am Sunday, January 27, 2019

Lynna Clark

My hubby had a motorcycle for a while and was wise enough to take a safety class at the community college. The instructor said something that stuck with David as he was learning to ride. “Be careful of target fixation,” he advised. “When something dangerous occurs, rather than focus on what you DON’T want to hit, focus on where you want to go.”
In other words, if a dog runs out, aim down the road past it and you’ll be less likely to wreck than if you’re looking at the dog. In the fifteen or so years that David rode, he wrecked one time. A sharp curve on a bumpy country road came up way too fast and all he could see was the barbed wire fence he would hit if he didn’t make the curve. He became a victim of target fixation. Thankfully he walked away to ride another day.
Eventually he convinced me of how fun it would be if we could ride together. So I mounted behind him on the cinder block they call a passenger seat. We rode to the beach, to the mountains and many a country road especially in the spring when the trees first start to bud. The aroma of wild wisteria throughout the woods is so pleasant. Then the smell of fires burning in the fall has a way of bringing the senses to life. I really loved it.
One day we rode up to a state park which included a small mountain range. It was a gorgeous day for a picnic. Before we headed down the mountain I was happy to find a restroom. While David waited for me, he was actually solicited by a pimp who offered to lead him to a camper where a good time would be had by all.
Sorry delicate readers. I realize you just went from a peaceful overlook with a picnic to something disgusting. But that’s exactly what happened. Yes, broad daylight, North Carolina, beautiful park, and lewd fellows of the baser sort. I do not make this stuff up.
When I emerged from the bathroom, David took my hand and hurried down a steep hill covered in about a foot of loose wet leaves. Suddenly he stumbled a bit and turned his ankle. We sat on the side of the hill as I silently wondered how we’d get home. I had no idea how to drive a motorcycle. He didn’t tell me about the earlier solicitation until later. He was probably afraid I’d jerk a camper door open and express my hot displeasure. Thankfully his ankle was strong enough to drive and no harlots were harmed in the making of this story. But I decided to take my own motorcycle class in case I ever needed to drive.
I did way better than I expected. Of course the bikes used in the class were very little compared to ours. But I could maneuver it through the cones with ease. The instructor yelled at me to go faster, so I did. What he didn’t realize was that I couldn’t figure out how to stop. I was last in line and everyone else had parked neatly side by side waiting for me to finish. I saw it before it happened and I could not look away. Everyone scattered as I plowed right into the row of bikes knocking every single one of them down. As warned earlier, I became a victim of target fixation.
Writer Adam Holtz received the same warning in his motorcycle safety class. His instructor wisely added, “Where you’re looking is the direction you’re going to go.”
Have you been knocked on your rear lately? As Mr. Holtz says, “Scripture encourages us to look past our problems to the One Who can help.” In fact, Philippians tells us to focus on one thing: Forget the past and look forward to what lies ahead.
Sometimes we just can’t fix things. Instead of a picnic with a scenic view, ugliness comes out of nowhere. There is only One Who knows our future. He alone will get us safely home. Set your eyes on Him. He is worthy of our focus.

Lynna Clark lives in Salisbury.

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