Gas Station Sunglasses

by Jake Hershey on September 30, 2012

In case you didn’t know, bull riding can be hazardous to your health.   When I was fifteen, I begged my parents to let me compete in high school rodeo.  I knew we couldn’t afford a bronc saddle (which is what I really wanted to do), so I found a cheap bullrope, glove, spurs and chaps and decided I’d be a bull rider.  I think I got on 5 or 6 bulls and rode 3 or 4 before I broke my leg.  Dad said he’d get me a bronc saddle if I’d quit getting on bulls.  I happily agreed, because bull riding can be hazardous to your health.

A couple of years later, I was standing in the arena during another high school rodeo.  It was during the bull riding event, which can be hazardous to your health.  I’d like to tell you that I needed to be there, that I was pulling my buddy’s rope, working the slide gate, hanging flank straps, etc.  I might have been doing all those things, but truth be told, it was a high school rodeo….I was probably just cutting up with my buddies and hoping that some of the pretty girls were lookin’ at me.  I don’t know exactly why I was standing there, but I do know I was wearing a brand new pair of fancy $5 sunglasses that I’d bought at the local gas station….more about that later.

What I remember clearly is that I was talking to somebody who was on the bucking chutes….so my back was facing the arena.  I was having a good ‘ol time, not thinking about the fact that bull riding can be hazardous to one’s health…because I wasn’t competing in it.  As I was looking up at the bucking chutes laughing at something one of my buddies had said or done, all of a sudden I hear, “Jake!  Look out!”

That’s when a Grey Hound bus doing about 180 miles per hour hit me from behind.  Or so I thought.  Actually, it was the bull that had just bucked.  I guess he saw my skinny little butt and wanted to remind me that bull riding could be hazardous to one’s health.  The first hit knocked the wind out of me, but just pushed me up against the fence.  The second hit was just low enough that it got my feet off the ground.  I had grabbed the fence and that along with the force of the third hit threw me over the fence to safety.  It was one of those deals that looked worse than it was.  It didn’t hurt me at all and once everyone realized I was ok, we all had a big laugh.  That’s when I looked down and saw my fancy $5 gas station sunglasses laying on the ground.  They had snapped in two, right at the nose.  That really made my buddies laugh.

I knew that bullriding could be dangerous to one’s health…so I quit getting on them.  But when it came time to simply be around the event, I forgot that there was still danger involved.  And it came back to bite me….or at least ram me up against the fence and break my sunglasses.

We all do things that we know are dangerous to our health…either physically, emotionally, relationally, spiritually or all of the above.  Sometimes we choose to quit doing those things and think that we’re safe from the danger.  Sometimes that’s true, sometimes it isn’t.

If you’ve quit drinking, going to the bar can be dangerous.  If you’ve quit smoking, hanging around with smokers can be dangerous.  If you’re on a diet, going to Baskin Robbins with your friend can be dangerous.  If you’ve quit an abusive relationship, being around that person can be dangerous.  If you’ve quit riding bulls, standing in the arena can be dangerous.

If you’re a Christian, not praying, not reading your bible and skipping church can be dangerous.

If there’s something in your life that you’ve quit doing because you know it’s dangerous to your health, good for you.  But know this…the devil is gonna use whatever he can to harm you or suck you back in to the sin you’ve already quit.  Just because you’re not actually doing something, just being around it can still be dangerous.

I’m reminded of that every time I watch bull riding…while sitting in my recliner.

“Do not give the devil a foothold.”  Ephesians 4:27

Jake Hershey 9/30/12

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  • Ed

    I love watching bull riding on TV and would love to watch it in person. But watching it is readily apparent that it is one sport that is extremely hazardous to one’s health. As much as I enjoy watching it there is no way I am even slightly tempted to try it. The truth is there have been (are) a few things I’ve done that are hazardous to my spiritual and relational health. And I’ve learned the hard way to stay as far from those things as possible.

  • Thanks, Jake! As always you hit the bull in the butt, or maybe got hit by the bull! Just when we think we are safe from our sin, it runs us over like that! We are weak in our flesh and should be more like Joseph and run, not walk, away from hour sin!

  • Jake

    Amen Ed and Cory. Thanks for the comments.

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