Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Bus Driver's "Mesiras Nefesh"

At the beginning of the summer, the bus driver turned around to look at me and said,

"I want to let you know this is the last day I will be the driver for this route. Tomorrow, I will be transferring to a route this is closer to where I live. I am psyched because now that this warm weather is here, I will be able to get out on my motorcycle more often!"

"Do you ride on the highway or on a track?," I asked.

"On a track. But right now my bike is in the shop and I will have a $4000 bill to pay when it is ready", he replied.

"$4000!? Can't you buy a motorcycle for that much", I inquired.

"Yes, however, I have a specialized racing bike and I am having something added to it so it can accelerate from 0 to 60 in just seconds", he responded.

When I asked him what the top speed he had reached on his motorcycle, he said he had once reached 240 miles per hour racing on a track. The bus driver then proceeded to tell me the story of an accident he had one day racing,

"I was going about 100 miles per hour and all of a sudden I hit something on the track and went flying over my handlebars. My leather racing suit protected me from skin lacerations, yet I suffered from a number of broken bones all over my body. I picked myself up and went to inspect the condition of my bike. Looking down at the ground, I noticed a trail of red circles. Just then, one of my buddies came over, put his hand on my shoulder and said, 'Hey man, I think you better sit down'.

I looked down and realized that my left foot had been completely severed off and that the red circles were made when I was walking with the bloody stump where my left foot had once been. My first thought though was, 'Is my bike ok?'.

I had my friend go over and take a look. Inside the wreckage of my bike, my friend discovered my severed foot. He immediately called an ambulance and at the hospital the doctors were able to reattach my foot to my leg with the help of titanium rod. Afterwards, I had to endure weeks of physical therapy. That was the most painful part!"

"After all of this you are still riding your motorcycle?", I asked.

"Nothing can keep me away. I just love riding my bike!", he responded.

"You are telling me that you lost a foot and had to have it put back on and your only thought was getting back on your bike?", I asked once again.

"Man, that's nothing, my friend. There is a guy in my racing team who was in a coma for 12 years after an accident and now he is back on his bike racing alongside me!!", he responded.

As I got off the bus that morning, I realized that this conversation raised an important question that everyone should honestly ask themselves:

Do I have an equal amount of determination in my avodas Hashem as this bus driver has for riding his motorcycle?


At October 12, 2010 at 2:48:00 PM EDT, Anonymous YY said...

Wow. How can one walk without a foot and not notice it?? I hear the point about M. Nefesh, but don’t quite jive with the direct analogy. In true spirituality, each and every limb is important! And I’m not sure that we want to cultivate addictive personality disorders wrapped in Torah piety!

Neat story though. Well told and perfect picture.

At October 12, 2010 at 2:51:00 PM EDT, Blogger Neil Harris said...

Great post. I once was at an accoustic concert (totally non-Jewish musician) and saw so many people at the edge of the stage just swaying and singing. I remember thinking a similar thought about my kavana during davening.

In regard to your question, the first step is just realizing that our Avodah is a conscious action.

At October 13, 2010 at 12:10:00 AM EDT, Blogger Dan said...

I def. don't. That being said, here at the Yeshiva I am in, we are working on Rabbi Avigdor Miller's ten steps to greatness. This week is saying "I love you Hashem." At least once a day, and the bochurim are always reminding eachother to say it. Which is really nice. I know that today, I said it a lot, I think it is the only thing that kept me sane while I took the LSAT's. But back to the original post, I would venture to guess that there are so few of us who have such mesiras nefesh in our Avodah as that driver does in his racing.


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