Wednesday, April 08, 2009

On the Highway to... Salvation?

As we crept along this morning in the rush-hour traffic on the freeway, I had plenty of time to enjoy -- and memorize -- a bumper sticker on the car in front of mine. It read:

The Flying Hamster of Doom Rains Coconuts on Your Pitiful City!

I like it. As far as I know, it doesn't mean anything -- unless it's something like the Flying Spaghetti Monster -- also an amusing diversion. If nothing else, it's something to chuckle about at 5 m.p.h. in a 65-m.p.h. zone...

I'm on the freeway because I hate driving in rush hour traffic. Perhaps you recall a Disney cartoon featuring Goofy. As "Mr. Walker," he is kind, polite, gentle, helpful -- everything a good Christian should be. But when he gets into his car, and becomes "Mr. Wheeler" -- well, the folks at Disney left no doubt -- horns sprouted from his forehead, and his behavior was, well, devilish. I don't know that I qualify to be Mr. Walker; but I know beyond the shadow of a doubt that I am Mr. Wheeler.

It doesn't make sense; and it certainly isn't how I start out. A prayer always comes first, for safety in travel; and I usually ask as well for grace to restrain whatever it is in me that goes berserk on the highway. It even works -- until someone goes zooming past in the right hand lane, or cuts me off in traffic -- and then you don't want to be in the car with me. One of the worst things is when the stretch of road we're on goes from two lanes into one lane, and we have to merge. Sometimes -- usually because I'm not a regular traveler on that road, I may be in the lane that disappears. When that happens, I turn on my turn signal, and creep along, waiting and hoping that someone will let me over without my having to force the issue. More often than not, I know the route, and am already in the proper lane before it becomes difficult to do so. When I encounter someone who is in the disappearing lane who is responding as I do, I let them over. The driver who zooms past me (especially when there is a three or four car-length gap behind me), and then insists on my yielding the right-of-way... We've got a problem. If I can, I'm right on the bumper of the car ahead of me, playing low-speed chicken -- daring the other driver to hit me. If the car manages to slip in -- or I lose the game of chicken -- I'm sure I'd spike a blood pressure meter, and the language that comes out of my mouth... Oh, my.

Yes, I confess all this; and yes, I do regret it -- later. So that's why, during Great Lent, I'm taking the freeway at least part of the way. It gives me a chance to turn away from being "Mr. Wheeler," and in a very small way, try to become someone who is peaceful, gentle, humble, and "un-possessive" of the lane I'm driving in. By God's grace, I hope to change...