Monday, September 17, 2012
Ease On Down the Road
When my family moved from California to Colorado, we decided to begin a process of consolidating a lot of the "stuff" of our lives (moves are great at helping a person to see what's important and what's not important). To this end, our family gave a lot of "stuff" away. We brought with us only one coat, rather than two. We gave away pots and pans that hadn't been used, and toys that hadn't been played with. Before leaving town, a friend of mine gave me the very good advice to; "put all that you own in the middle of the room, look at it, ponder it, if you haven't used any of this stuff for the past year or so, you probably don't need it - get rid of it." And so, it was in this vein of "downsizing" that we sold one of our cars and came out to Colorado with just one car.
When we arrived in Colorado, my ever so generous father-in-law told me that it would be ok with him if I borrowed his early 1980's, door dented, cassette playing, gas fume smelling, sometimes starting, electric window busted Mercedez Benz - at least until we got another car. And so, for the past two months or so, I have been driving my father-in-law's old jalopy to work and back every day - and I have to say, I love it.
I love the way the door sort of slams when you close it, rather than the quiet waft of a newer car's doors. I love the smell of gas and oxygen that marinates your nostrils when driving it (I guess, "I love the smell of gas in the morning..."). I love the sound system that buzzes. I love steering wheel that takes a workout to turn. I love the cup holder that folds down out of the door like a tray table in an antique Soviet aircraft. But most of all, I love how slowly it drives. My father-in-law's old car maximizes it's driving potential between 40 miles per hour and 60 miles per hour. Beyond that, the wheels start to fly off their axis. So, for at least the past two months, I have;
Eased on Down the Road!
Now, why do I tell you all of this? Because of this. As much as I have enjoyed my counter-cultural approach to driving an older car, I have found that many people around me are quite upset about it. The times people have honked at me, for my slowness in changing lanes has been comical. The number of people who have flipped me off on the free-way for not driving fast enough I cannot count. The monster trucks who have sped by me while racing their engines and throwing their cigarette butts out the window are too numerous to count. One guy actually passed me by the other day, while rolling down his window and saying, "Why don't you just retire old man." (I suppose the man thought that because I was driving an older car, that I must be an old man. Really, this experience has given me new appreciation for the lack of respect that senior citizens in our society receive...)
But here's the thing. I believe that Jesus calls each of us to a similar "counter-cultural" living experience as I have had while driving an "out of sink" car. First of all, we are not supposed to buy new stuff all the time, as Christ followers. We are called to a life of good stewardship of God's resources. We are not supposed to mind whether our cars, houses, clothes, or lives are "up with" the latest fashions around us. And most of all, we are not supposed to be living our lives at the same pace as the rest of the world. We really are called to;
Ease on Down the Road.
And here's the thing. Other people around us will be bothered by this lifestyle choice of ours. Other people around us will wonder why we are not buying the latest fashions, focussed on the same things, driving as fast as the rest of the world. Really, I am not kidding about this at all. Your choice to metaphorically drive your car, family, house, and life slower than anyone else will really perturb the masses. It will happen. Trust me. But who cares. For me, it has been a renewed joy of life, to discover once again, the effortless peace that is found in;
Easing on Down the Road!!
All for Now,