That day, as I started to pull away from work, I was enjoying the gorgeous sunshine and blue sky. My regular road home wound over rolling hills with forests on each side. Each season brought its own brand of beauty. Today it was the green of spring. I smiled and breathed deeply of growth and change.
Not long down the road my smile faded as I pulled up to a long line of cars barely crawling at about 25mph (on a 55mph state route). As the road dipped, I saw the reason for our slowing: a huge piece of farm equipment lumbered down the road. I was going nowhere fast.
It’s not uncommon to come upon machinery on this road, and the sizes and speeds all vary. Sometimes the slowdown could also be a horse and buggy, in no hurry to get anywhere. I love where I live, so I see the buggies and machinery as a normal part of the journey..
Another part of the delay, other than just snailing behind the bouncy mammoth on wheels, is the road. There’s limited opportunity to pass on this stretch of road. The traffic is constant, with few sections where a brave soul can pass.
This afternoon there was no passing. The guy in the car ahead of me didn’t hesitate to express his frustration about the situation. His arms flailed, and he jerked across the center line checking on whether he could pass. This behavior was interspersed with long periods of laying on his horn. I must confess, the longer I followed him, the more I found myself snickering at his exasperation.
I kept my distance from the erratic driver. Then I noticed a green oval sticker on his bumper. I eased a little closer to be sure I read it correctly. Sure enough. The sticker contained one word: Pray. It hit me so funny at first I burst into laughter. Really? “Hey buddy, did you forget your faith? Your fickleness is showing, and it’s not becoming of your witness.”
Then I got one of those nudges from the Spirit. You know the kind. It sounds like your mother, or teacher. It starts simply with a throat clearing—just enough to get your attention, if you’re paying attention. The throat clearing is then followed by The Look. Now, I’m not sure how the Spirit manages to give a look, but the feeling is just the same. I was caught and I knew it.
So I did the one thing I probably should have started with, the one thing I was being silently asked to do all along: I prayed. I prayed the driver would be safe. I prayed other drivers would drive safely and intelligently. Then I asked for forgiveness. How dare I question this guy’s faith? In my attitude I threw a stone when I had no right. My fickleness hangs out way more than I care to admit.
I guess that’s why I never put any Christian symbols or stickers on my car. Maybe that’s why I laughed so hard and quick. Mr. Impatient’s behavior was too familiar. Oh sure, with nowhere to be, I was cruising that afternoon, peaceful and unruffled. But what if I had been late for something very important? I imagine it would look quite different and definitely not flattering to my faith.
A “pray” sticker on my car, needs to be on the dashboard, not the bumper. I wonder if I can find one that says, “Pray first. Laugh later.” I’ll be looking!