Lots of little boys love cars. Anything with wheels brings joy and sounds of “vroom, vroom”. Mack, at one, loves to get in his plastic car and pretend.
Most sixteen-year-olds are equally delighted with cars. The idea of independence, the freedom to go where you want to when you want to, is high on the list of desires. A driver’s license is a rite of passage.
Midlife crises often take the shape of a sports car, a chance to break out of the all-purpose family vehicle and act like a sixteen-year-old.
Me? I don’t like driving.
When I was a teenager, I’d grab every opportunity to drive. Driving was exhilarating. Listening to my music. Taking the route I chose. Being in charge of a massive vehicle that could flatten me in a moment’s notice.
Not so much anymore. I drive out of necessity, but I don’t enjoy it. Not like I used to. Orlando, Florida is a particularly challenging place to drive. We have lots of tourists and visitors who live here for extended periods of time.
And lots of angsty drivers.
I can be one of them. On my way to an appointment this morning, I left early to beat the worst of the traffic.
I was in the middle of it.
Trying to leave a little space between me and the car in front of me, I was cut off four times in a space of ten miles. A car darted in, not using signals, causing me to slam on my brakes and watch my gas gauge drop precipitously. People honked when someone didn’t move fast enough. Arms were extended out of windows, using fingers to indicate extreme distaste with the drivers ahead of them.
I was clenching my jaw so hard my face hurt by the time I arrived.
Leaving from there for the next meeting, the traffic had lessened. I was going ten miles over the speed limit (kind of acceptable) and was being blown off the road by big trucks and buses.
It was difficult to unclench my jaw.
Transportation is necessary but can be hazardous to health.
We’re all on similar roads, dealing with traffic and a destination. Daily.
Our life journey takes us down highways that aren’t always comfortable to drive on. We’re never the only car on the road. Our driving affects those in cars around us. School buses full of kids. Families in minivans. Individuals–all with a place to go.
How we drive through this life–our attitudes toward others, our interactions with the people we work with, relationships with family, neighbors, friends–can affect our journey.
But nothing can determine our destination except for who we’ve invited to drive with us. If Jesus isn’t with us, the highway we’re headed on won’t be heaven.
Life is frustrating and tense. We don’t always agree with those driving near us. But operating with God behind the wheel, steering me toward hope, is the only way to be assured of the promise of heaven. And a better attitude here.
Everything else is just being stuck in traffic.