The Sound of Speed

I’m writing this in our church office. I came here hunting quiet. And when you’re intentionally trying to find quiet, noises, even distant noises become more noticeable, annoyingly so. I’ve already lifted pencil from page a few times, furrowed brow, listening to a guy on a motorcycle up to no good.

Motorcyclists share this in common with small children: you can tell they are about to break something—a rule, belonging, or themselves—by the sound they make long before you can see them. This particular motorcycle is hitting his throttle through successive gears with a high enough tempo that he’s creating a sound I can only describe as speed on two wheels. Nothing else in creation makes that noise.

So far I’ve heard him careen1 around the traffic circle a quarter mile south of me. I’ve listened to him fly by2 my office window toward the road construction to our north3 near where a police cruiser often sits, prowling for speeders on this little road, rated for a maximum speed of 25 mph. I don’t know this guy4 but things sound like, one way or another, they are going to go badly for him in the very near future. I wish somehow I could tell him, warn him, though he probably wouldn’t be able to hear me over the particular noise of speed on two wheels.

Your goal, Christian, is to invite people into your life to tell you how your life sounds.5 You may be having the time of your life but headed toward breaking something soon.6 You already have people in your life listening to the throttle and gears. What it takes are guts, your guts, not to live life at open throttle but to ask a friend, “What do you hear?”7


  1. Yes, you can hear careening. ↩︎
  2. Yes, you can hear flying. ↩︎
  3. Apparently we’re sharing space now, as it is “our north.” ↩︎
  4. I don’t even know that he is a guy. ↩︎
  5. Hebrews 3:12-13 ↩︎
  6. Luke 12:19 ↩︎
  7. Proverbs 27:9 ↩︎