My husband’s car broke. The driveshaft. On his 1997 Saturn. The one with 368,000 miles.
He loves his cars. I remember when he had to finally let go of his Colt. Just pitiful. I swear I saw tears.
Anyway, he got the car fixed. Which meant a rental car for a few days. And yesterday I had to drive him up to the airport to turn it back in and then over to pick up his mistress.
I hate highway construction. I hate the barrels and the barriers. I hate trying to figure out where I’m supposed to be. I hate that everyone else seems to know, and they ignore the 60-MPH but 45-MPH-when-workers-are-present signs. Construction ahead. Slow down. They just fly past me. Weave in. Weave out.
Anyway, I don’t know what possessed me to ask. I think because I seldom have a passenger but Gracee who just turns up the music and enjoys the ride or amuses herself with her Nintendo or pen and paper.
My kids always complain about my driving. But they’re kids. I guess I was thinking about them and their complaining.
Silence. Weighing words.
“Well, a little,” he finally said.
I gripped the wheel tighter. Clamped my teeth. Tight. Tongue safely dammed behind them.
“You did get a little close to that truck back there, and you nearly crossed the center line. AND you say you know where you’re going, but you don’t really.”
I screamed, “What are you talking about Mr. DK55 on the open highway? YOU who likes to scare someone who pulls out in front of you so you don’t brake until the last minute. YOU who loves the sound of your horn. YOU who when you drive in Detroit traffic turn into one of THEM. YOU wonder why I always have my nose in a book even in the car? YOU who leaves dust in your wake as you hit country chatterbumps at 55 leaving me with aching teeth and a bruised tailbone? I make YOU nervous?”
Yup. That’s what I screamed.
In my head.
But since I have a gentle and quiet spirit, I simple nodded and said, “Hmm. Well, I get nervous riding with you sometimes, too.”
And I could use a GPS. Even right here in our little town. I admit it. I’ve never had a great sense of direction, and Dennis loves to tell the story of when we were riding “around the square” on horseback (a much softer ride over chatterbumps), and how we turned right, then right, then right, and then I tried to go left.
I mean, who pays that much attention when you’re settled in the saddle, buried in thought, playing with a mane, brushing away flies, patting a warm neck, and taking in the scenery.
Just enjoying the ride.
I might have said a few other things. In a gentle and quiet way, of course. But I got to thinking.
This drive through life can be tough. A battle sometimes. And there are rules and signs.
Dodge the barriers. Roll with the bumps. Don’t ride too close to someone else. Stay in the narrow lane. Don’t cross the center line. Keep your eyes on the road. Construction ahead. Slow down.
But enjoy the ride.
And always know where you’re going.
“Don’t look for shortcuts to God. The market is flooded with surefire, easygoing formulas for a successful life that can be practiced in your spare time. Don’t fall for that stuff, even though crowds of people do. The way to life–to God!–is vigorous and requires total attention.” Matthew 7:13-14 (Message)
Copyright © 2010 by Sandra Heska King