Let me start this post by acknowledging one thing we all know and secretly want to say: I'M NOT GOOD AT DRIVING. One of my favorite comedians, John Mulaney, puts it this way:
Ok, before my friends (you know, the ones who entrust me with the safety of their children who often ride in my vehicle) freak out too much, I am (slightly) exaggerating. I'm not that bad. I don't have too many instances of people honking at me due to my lack of skills, but I'm pretty sure I do annoy the tar out of people who share the road with me.
I'm that person who speeds up and slows down based on my conversation with my passengers. Unless I'm locked into the cruise control feature on my minivan, you'll find me cruising at somewhere between 65 and 82 MPH on the highway. It drives my husband to drink hard liquor. I don't mind, though, because I'm just driving my own little symphony on the open road, ebbing and flowing based strictly on how I feel at any given moment.
I'm also that person who rides in the left-hand lane like it's my job. Sometimes I do my job so well, though, that I forget there are faster drivers piled up behind me barely keeping their road rage in check while I meander my way down the interstate at somewhere between 65 and 82 MPH. When I finally realize what I've done and find space to pull to the right, I always stare straight ahead while the massive line of left-lane cars speed past me, in hopes that I might avoid their death glares nonchalantly.
Ok, who am I kidding, I always look at them. I can't help it. They look so angry and I feel so sorry for them because there are bigger fish to fry in life, amiright (says the girl who's obviously not in a hurry to get anywhere)?
I'm a self-confessed tailgater. I try really hard not to be, and I've gotten so much better, but sometimes I realize I'm riding someone's tail so closely that I might as well just climb in their vehicle so we can ride together.
I'm also that person who gets incensed when someone is tailgating me. Ironic, right? When someone's riding my tail, especially at night when their headlights are all up in my mirrors, I'm the driver who slows down to a snail's pace, tapping my brakes repeatedly to send a back-the-heck-up signal to the driver behind me. It works four out of ten times. The rest of time the oblivious driver behind me just keeps hanging out on my fender, and we cruise the city roads together at a modest 10 MPH.
The older I've gotten, the more I've grown to hate driving at night. Yes, the previous sentence makes it sound like I'm 70. In actuality, I'm 34. I'm a 34-year-old who hates driving at night.
Things don't bode well for 70-year-old me.
Last night I found myself driving home from NC unexpectedly. We arrived yesterday afternoon to visit my parents, and two things soon became apparent: 1) the impending snowstorm was going to be worse than we thought and we'd very probably be stuck on top of their mountain for several days, and 2) my youngest kiddo was sick. Like, super sick. He went downhill quickly, and his fever spiked to almost 103 degrees, so I found myself sitting in my parents' living room weighing my options. They don't have quality medical care nearby, and something in my gut told me he might have strep, which would require quick medical attention. With the storm approaching more quickly than anticipated and my ever-punier son in mind, I decided to load everyone back into the van at 7:00pm and make the two-and-a-half hour drive back home to Atlanta.
Did I mention I hate driving at night?
I found myself driving with hyper focus, my hands at ten and two. Any driver's ed instructor would have been proud. There aren't a lot of streetlights in the Great Smoky Mountains, and so I alternated often between shining my brights and turning them off again for oncoming traffic. I wasn't fearful, but I was focused.
As my kids sat in the back listening to the Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets audiobook, I found myself conversing with the Lord. "Lord," I prayed, "I need some supernatural foresight as I make this drive. It's dark and there are a lot of tired people on the road tonight. Won't you please give me eyes to see potential danger long before I get close to it?"
And just like that, a God-sized truth hit me between the eyes like a ton of bricks. Or like a Miley-Cyrus-sized wrecking ball (whichever suits your fancy).
That's a prayer I should utter every moment of every day. It's a plea I should make a thousand times over, not only for me, but for my husband, for my children, for my friends and family.
Oh, that we'd allow Him to show us the potential mistakes and consequences and pain long before we ever get close enough to be hurt.
Oh, that we'd flee from potential danger.
How often do we dabble in the world's ways, walking a very thin line between holiness and selfishness? How often do we approach oncoming danger with very little fear and trepidation, with little regard for the boundaries God's given us for our own benefit? How often do we see oncoming danger and plow still further ahead, sure that we'll be able to swerve out the way at the last minute and avoid the collision? How often are we left picking up the pieces of shattered hopes and dreams, and all because we were so caught up in playing our own game of chicken with sin, a game we thought we surely couldn't lose?
We need His eyes and His discernment to see the danger that's ahead, and then we need to run far, far away from it. Sometimes we might even need to take an alternate route. Sometimes this means we need to change plans, to associate with different people. Sometimes it might seem silly, overreactive even, at least by the world's standards. God's wisdom, though, is not the world's wisdom, and it's never wrong.
I don't know about you, but I know that I will be praying this prayer often for myself and my people. We can't get tangled up in sin if we don't allow ourselves to dabble in it, right?
That's all I've got for tonight, folks. And rest assured, the highways here in the south are slightly less dangerous, even with all of this snow and sleet, because I'm tucked safely away at home tonight by a warm fire.
BTW, It had better snow tonight, because my kids have been preemptively sledding all evening on our dry driveway. I'd hate for them not to experience the real thing.