I wish my car horn had different settings. From a little “Excuse me, would you mind scooching up just a smidge so I can make this turn?” to a slightly louder “Hellooo, you can’t put your car where my car presently is” to a foghorn bellowing, “AAAGGHHH!!! WE’REALLGONNADIE!!!”
I live in the land of Very Important People. I can tell this is true because of the utter disregard for following any kind of traffic law whatsoever. I’m not a fool, I know whatever is going on in Very Important Peoples’ lives is so much more amazing and super duper necessary than my little life, but I’d still like to make it through the day.
In the past two or three years—the past month even—I have witnessed more people passing on a double-yellow line than I have in all the prior years combined since I started driving umpteen-thousand years ago. Nothing gets my heart pumping quite like a car, not all that far away, suddenly pulling out in a no passing zone, coming directly at me on a tree-lined road. I haven’t seen my life flash before my eyes yet, but it’s been a close shave a time or two. Should I take this car head-on? or should I swerve into a tree? The guy behind me is kind of close, I wonder if he knows we’re about to end up in a big fireball? What to do, what to do?
Speaking of being a little close, what is it with you tailgaters? How can it possibly be comfortable to drive that close to a car? It’s not like I’m going under the speed limit, but somehow I don’t think it matters to you how fast I’m going. Listen, there are a lot of speed traps around here and I’m not going to go any faster just because someone is trying to intimidate me—you car bully, you.
Wait a minute, I just had a thought, maybe you’re not the bully you seem to be. Is it because you like me and think I’m cute and can’t stand to be away from me that you have to be so very extremely, uncomfortably, unnervingly close to me? Well, why didn’t you just say so? Hey, don’t take this the wrong way, but I need a little space to make this relationship work. Really, you need to back off. A little more please. Like about one car length to every 10 miles an hour we’re going.
Nowadays, there also seems to be a new-ish trend afoot of people, young and old, ambling slowly down the middle of the street. Not a back road or a tucked into a suburban residential area road, but a regular well-traveled, cars often flying up and down it, road. This situation gets particularly tricky when rounding a curve and suddenly there’s people standing RIGHT. THERE. As I slam on my brakes to avoid them, there is always at least one person who looks at me as if I am somehow the one in the wrong place.
What’s the etiquette here? Should I apologize? I’m so, so sorry to drive my car on this road, I hope I didn’t ruin your afternoon walk and conversation. I hate to even ask this of you because I can see that you indeed are a Very Important Person, but would you mind ever so much using that sidewalk right there? It’s just that I’ve noticed the Metro buses don’t go all that slowly down this street and I’d hate for someone as awesome as you to become a pancake.
When one of these driving moments happen, I take time to marvel with my kids at the recklessness of not following rules that are clearly there to attempt to keep Very Important People, and the rest of us, safe. I must be getting old because I relish pointing out that rules and laws aren’t necessarily the fun-suckers-out-of-life that they have a reputation for being. While some people do use them to be controlling, rules and laws are more often set into place so that we can enjoy life, an attempt to help us exist a little longer.
In the same way, because God is Love, His laws haven’t been set in place to make our lives miserable. Rather, they exist because He knows the real-life consequences of breaking them and He wants so much to protect us. But since we have, for some reason, been allowed to exercise free will, we all step outside of those safety nets.
It can feel so freeing to be outside of those constraints, can’t it? Especially if you’ve grown up in a rules-oriented environment. The man-made rules dressed up as godliness should be chucked by the wayside. But God’s laws cannot be set aside forever without coming face-to-face with the consequences of our actions.
Fortunately, when we come to those oh-no-what-have-I-done? moments, God, in His great love, has provided a way for forgiveness and healing. His name is Jesus. Forgiveness comes the moment we ask for it, but, depending on a few things, the healing probably will take a while. Hang in there, I have found that healing and freedom are always worth the trek.
But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us and to cleanse us from every wrong. 1 John 1:9 (NLT)