U-Turn on I-24
Every nut with a license to drive must have been on I-24. One car couldn’t go fast enough. No speed was too slow for another. Still another couldn’t pick a speed, let alone a lane.
Getting home from Nashville was proving more difficult than I’d planned. It was Friday night and all I wanted to do was get home to see my wife and kids.
A few miles past the Kentucky line and I thought “Not long now.”
Bright red suddenly lit up the backs of cars in both lanes. Sirens whirled in the distance and traffic ground to a halt. Sure enough, a wreck had put my trip home on delay. It figured, what with all the crazy people on the road.
After a few minutes sitting in park I shut off the engine, opened the door, and stepped out of my car into the river of stalled traffic to see what was going on.
Small clusters of like-minded drivers began forming here and there. The group closest to me was fairly quiet. We just stared at the flashing lights.
Frustrated, I muttered something about just trying to get home after a long week on the road.
“Coming back from vacation?”
“Nope. I had some work to do near Houston. Just driving back from the airport.”
The small talk continued, picked up momentum, and soon grew into full-blown conversation.
One guy was from St. Louis. He’d taken a job in Huntsville and was driving back every weekend to see his family.
Another man was on his way home from a graduation and was less than a mile from his exit. He called his family travelling in a van behind him to warn them to take another exit home.
Then the helicopter arrived. No doubt the person it was there to pick up also had somewhere to go, probably with family waiting on them as well. Sadly, their inconvenience was at best going to last a lot longer than ours.
Right then it dawned on me something had changed. Here I was chatting it up with those who not long ago seemed like obstacles in my way, competitors for position, or just plain jerks whose sole purpose for being on the road was to make my drive difficult.
But now they were different. They were regular folks trying to get home. They had names. They had families they cared about and who cared about them. They had dreams, frustrations, and fears riding with them down the interstate. They were just like me.
When my perspective changed to where I could no longer ignore their God-given humanity they were transformed from faceless objects into real life people.
Soon the chopper took off and one of lanes opened. We hurriedly said our goodbyes and good-lucks, then hopped in our vehicles and were on our way again.
The re-acquired solitude of my car gave me a chance to reflect—and wonder. Why do I sometimes choose to see others as obstacles, competitors, even jerks? Why would I ever choose to turn people into objects?
I could only come up with one answer—because it gives me an excuse to not be Christ to those around me. By seeing people as objects I don’t have to show them the grace I’ve been given. My selfishness is justified as I take the opportunity to worry about my needs without caring about theirs. I know I am more important than any object.
Every vehicle the rest of the way home came with a face behind the wheel. The funny thing was when I no longer shared the road with obstacles, competitors, and jerks the trip became much less frustrating and (dare I say?) even enjoyable.
I think my challenge now is to find other areas of my life where I choose to see objects instead of people. Which makes me wonder–will intentionally seeing others as Christ sees them make the rest of my journey less frustrating, perhaps even enjoyable?
And the real question is, can I possibly live the mission if I don’t?
Live The Mission,