Something seemed to whisper in my ear that I should go home by a different route, but it was such a pretty day that I ignored the prompt and headed home the route I travel daily and enjoy for it’s winding around town and by so many beautiful trees. My smile faded as I pulled into a long line of cars traveling about 25mph (on a 55mph state route) following a huge piece of farm equipment lumbering down the road. I was going nowhere fast.
Too merely say this was a huge piece of farm machinery barely describes the enormity. Its right back tire was riding in the berm and took up the whole berm. Its left back tire riding on the center yellow line. It’s not too surprising to come upon machinery on this road, and the sizes and speeds all vary. Sometimes the slow down could also be a horse and buggy, in no hurry to get anywhere. Perhaps my expectations were exactly what helped me to be more comfortable with slowing down and not wigging out about the delay.
Part of the delay, other than just snailing behind the bouncy mammoth on wheels, was that there is very little opportunity to pass on this stretch of road. It is well traveled and there are very few sections where a brave soul can pass. This afternoon there was no passing happening. And the guy in front of me was fit to be tied. His arms were flailing and he was jerking 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 that the longer I followed him the more I found myself laughing at his exasperation. I might have had a bit more compassion, but he had already passed up three opportunities to turn off and thereby get around the frustration.
I had been keeping my distance from the erratic driver in front of me and then I noticed a small green oval sticker on the back of car. I thought I was reading it right, but wanted to be sure so I eased a little closer. Sure enough. The sticker contained one word: Pray. It hit me so funny at first that I busted into a full out laugh. Really? Hey buddy, did you forget your faith? Your fickleness is showing, and it’s not becoming of your witness.
And then I got one of those nudges from the Spirit. You know the kind. It sounds very much like your mother, or teacher. It starts simply with a throat clearing—just enough to get your attention, that is if you’re paying attention. That’s always 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 done to begin with, the one thing that I was being passively asked to do all along: I prayed. I prayed that the driver would be safe. I prayed that other drivers would drive safely and intelligently also. 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. Someone might mistake me for Peter’s little sister. 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. That guy’s behavior was too familiar. Oh, sure, I was cruising that afternoon, peaceful and unruffled, but it was because I had nowhere special to be. What if I had been late for something very important?
I think if I were to have a pray sticker on my car, it would be better for me if I put it on the dashboard, not the bumper. It’s on my list now to get this week. I wonder if I could find one that said, Pray first, Laugh later. I’ll be looking!