I was holding onto the seat so hard my knuckles were white. This happens more often than I’d like to confess and I can’t decide if it’s because I’m a back seat driver or if my husband thinks he’s trying out for the Daytona 500. You should see his face when he’s merging onto the interstate, coming in hot from an on-ramp, it’s pure focus and determination. His goal? To beat every car on the highway between his entrance and departure. I, on the other hand, slow down and slip in just behind a blue haired couple and follow along under the speed limit until I feel the coast is clear. It may take a bit, but I eventually get up to speed with the rest of traffic and find my comfortable place in the slower lane. I think my way of driving is the best and he, of course, thinks his way makes more sense. You should see him if we’re sitting at a red light and there happens to be no one in front of him. Imagine him getting eye contact with the driver next to him, a totally unsuspecting soul, measuring them up and then giving the side eye as he revs the engine waiting for the green. Then we take off like a bat out of hell totally shaming the mom in the minivan still sitting back at the light. The look on his face when he’s “won” is everything you might imagine from the winner of a NASCAR race. And the poor minivan mom never even knew she was in a race, so…. Maybe now you can understand why this has become a source of contention in our relationship. And, on this day, you can see why my knuckles were white as we powered down the interstate heading like we’re on a race track to no place important.
One of my very least favorite things is passing semi-trucks. I always feel like they can’t see me and it’s probably one of the only times I’ll put the pedal to the metal. When I’m beside one, I hold my breath. This is especially tough when traveling down a crowded interstate and you’re pinned between the retainer wall on one side and a huge truck on the other. The tires on those things are the height of an average car door. This happened recently and, not surprisingly, my husband was totally unaware of the peril we were in. Not me, I was completely aware and in serious intercessory prayer about the whole situation. I have a little technique I use when I’m especially uptight, I close my eyes. I figure if I’m going to heaven I may as well go in blissful ignorance. It works a lot of the time, but for some reason, on this day, I couldn’t peel my eyes off the giant tires next to me.
It was that moment, when I was in the most sincere prayer, that I noticed the tires getting closer. My husband seemed oblivious, but I wasn’t. I was the watchman or watchwoman or whatever of the situation and something was awry. Truck tires weren’t supposed to be that close. Because I’m a good copilot I calmly told my husband, in the most soothing voice ever, “He’s coming over.” Okay, okay, it was a voice more akin to hollering at your dog to come back after he’s shot off like a pellet gun to greet an unsuspecting stranger. There’s urgency in your voice but you don’t want to alarm the stranger. But, the dog is not coming back unless he knows you mean it. And, trust me, my husband understood that I meant it. I don’t tease when it comes to giant multi ton trucks trying to run me over. “It’s fine,” he responded curtly and I decided right then it wasn’t.
That truck was drifting.
He was drifting out of his lane into ours and I don’t even think he realized.
How often do we drift? Think about it. There are so many ways we drift in our daily lives. We drift into someone else’s “lane” and offer unsolicited advice. I mean, we know the answer to their problem if they’d only listen, right? We drift into the Waffle House on a Sunday morning instead of getting those energetic kids to Sunday school. This one I don’t understand because I used to skip away from the kid’s wing at our church when our children were little. Happy for someone else to “enjoy” them for a while. We drift into the kitchen and have a cup of coffee as we open social media instead of our Bible. Who hasn’t been guilty of that? But, honestly, what has social media ever done to make you feel like life is worth living? We drift away from the things that really matter, and I don’t even think we realize. Drifting is so subtle. It happens when we get focused on something other than Jesus. Just like driving, when we look at something on the side of the road and all of the sudden we’re headed right for it. We didn’t mean for it to happen, we were headed straight, until we looked at that “thing” and then followed what our eyes were looking at. We drifted. The good news is, we can easily correct. We can come back to the Word of God. We can get those kids back in God’s house for someone else to wrangle a while. We can quit offering advice when no one asked. None of it is final. We just need to pay attention.
Just like that truck. He needed to pay attention. And don’t think for a single moment I didn’t tell him so. My husband kept an eye on him while I read him his rights. Of course he couldn’t hear me, but that didn’t keep me from trying. Finally, in a moment of clarity, he realized he was drifting into our lane and corrected. I was singing hallelujahs and my husband was not amused. I gave Mr. Truck Driver a good glare when we finally passed, but he never looked down to see. Probably a good thing as I would’ve felt guilty later. My preacher Daddy always told us to treat people in such a way that you could witness to them at any moment and they would believe you. Pretty sure the truck driver wouldn’t have believed a word I had to say about the kindness of Jesus. I’m still not sure I’m sorry, but I’m sure I should be.
The lesson here is to PAY ATTENTION; remain focused and try to stay in your own lane.
That goes for driving and for living.
Oh, and watch out for semi’s. And, if you see someone pass you, look closely because it might just be me and my husband headed, at warp speed, to nowhere important.
DISCLAIMER: My husband thinks I exaggerate about his driving, I think I’m telling it exactly how it is. You decide. (*insert winking face here)