Driving Down the Highway of Patience

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I’m fortunate. I live in a city where the sun shines all year round. The flowers bloom. The air is clear (well, maybe not all the time but one can dream). And people are generally friendly, until …

Well, yes, let’s start with the road. We’ll get back to the friendly people later. The road is our highway to freedom. No need to hibernate indoors when you have any destination at your fingertips via your car. Sure, you can take the bus, subway, or taxi, but I’m talking real freedom where you have full control of just jumping into your vehicle and deciding when and how you’ll get there.

Before I moved into the part of town that I now live in, I used to enjoy a good drive to … somewhere, anywhere, in fact. I liked going out and living. I still enjoy being out and about but something’s changed. I now live in an area where the attitude of the drivers is intense. Yes, intense, I say. They seem to think they’re either invincible or James Bond. In fact, probably both. A driving nightmare for anyone with any common sense.

Ironically, this nightmare doesn’t start behind the wheel for me. It starts right in my own neighborhood where people don’t seem to understand that it is in fact a neighborhood where people, let alone families with children, live. On the positive side there are a few careful drivers, as there should be, but on the flip side … well, all I can say is it is madness.

Before I cross this small street or pull my car out I have to very carefully look around for any cars. A normal procedure for anyone except that in my neighborhood there are cars that seem to think it’s the Indy 500 racetrack and so the odds of them suddenly appearing, screeching, swerving, and flipping you off are quite high.

OK, so now I’ve made it behind the wheel of my car. I do the necessary, common sense procedures to get started and I’m on my way. In all fairness, not everyone is a maniac and there are times when I can actually enjoy the driving experience, but if I’m not on my guard …

So here I am cruising along—with the flow of traffic—then I look in my rear view mirror … hmmm, I don’t remember attaching another vehicle to my rear bumper! As I make eye contact with the driver behind me I restrain myself from flipping the bird—doesn’t really get anyone anywhere anyway—instead, I telepathically ask, “Excuse me, did anyone invite you to snuggle up to my rear end? I don’t think so! Back off!”

Nine times out of ten the person will act perturbed and swerve around in front of me as if I’m in the wrong. My immediate response is to pray for the person, “Lord, bless that person … with a brain.” Okay, I should be more merciful, but when I see the stupidity of those with the potential to cause an accident I can’t help but shake my head and wonder where theirs is.

Honestly, if you’re tailgating, speeding, and swerving around other drivers, what on earth does that say about you? Does dimwit come to mind? So, you’re in a hurry and running late. Big whoop! Manage your time better. Nothing is worth the carelessness people display out on the roads. When it comes down to it, you may end up at your destination a few minutes before you would have if you hadn’t tailgated, sped, and swerved your way  all over the road. A few minutes, for goodness sakes. Not to mention I’m sure you’re all wired up now because of it. Was it worth it?

Other charming acts of these “I am Tarzan, hear me roar” driver are:

1) Flashing their lights behind you because you’re apparently holding them up from their all-important life despite the fact that you are, in fact, going the speed limit.                                   

2) Playing a psychological “cat and mouse” game with pedestrians crossing the road at crosswalks.        

3) Will absolutely, under no circumstances, allow you to merge in front of them and will actually speed up to prevent you from doing such an abominable thing to them—gasp! Goodness gracious, if they have to be one car behind where they were originally … just too horrid for them to fathom!                               

4) On freeways (this one really has my eyes rolling), you see traffic has come to a stop ahead of you and these really “smart” people actually pick up speed when in fact they should start braking to come to that complete stop that everyone has obviously come to ahead of them (hmmm, these people may want to rethink their game plan). I’ve seen one too many cars go into the “oh my gosh! I now can’t control my car because I didn’t make the wise decision to actually stop when everyone else did!” swerve. Yep, and they’re always the ones in the lane next to me. Thank God for his protection because without him we’d all be flying around because of those wise bleepity-bleeps making up their own rules (learn the scientific basics, people!).

5) Honking … a lot. They seem to think it’s an entertaining way to pass the time?

I’m sure there are many more precious acts these people share with the rest of society out on the road, but I think we’ll stop here for sanity’s sake.

To be fair, even those of us who consider ourselves careful drivers are not always perfect when behind the wheel. Impatience can creep in, as can anger. But one thing that separates us from these inconsiderate (okay, I’m putting it mildly now) drivers is the fact that we’re not out to kill anyone. Some might say I’m going overboard with that statement. I don’t think so. To me the car is not only a vehicle to get from point A to point B, but when used recklessly, it is a weapon.

Driving isn’t like it is in the cartoons where a character crashes into something at full speed then bounces back as if hitting a marshmallow object. No. Real-life crashes are a lot less pleasant. I’m sure I don’t have to spell it out for you.

Now that we’ve got the 411 on what’s going on in some of those challenging roads, let’s take a look at some wise advice that the Bible (yes, even the Bible—which existed long before automobiles) teaches us in handling ourselves that can guide and help us in every aspect of our lives.                                                

Words to nourish, teach, and help us reflect:

“Do not be quickly provoked in your spirit, for anger resides in the laps of fools.” —Ecclesiastes 7:9        

“A quick-tempered man does foolish  things …”—Proverbs 14:17                                                                 

“Better a patient man than a warrior, a man who controls his temper that one who takes a city.”—Proverbs 16:32                                                                                                                                                     

“Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret—it leads only to evil.”—Psalms 37:8              

“Consider the blameless, observe the upright; there is a future for the man of peace.”—Psalms 37:37     

“A man’s pride brings him low, but a man of lowly spirit gains honor.”—Proverbs 29:23

“For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.”—Matthew 23:12

Some will say, “Cool.” Others will say, “I don’t live by the Bible.” And, yet, others will declare, “I don’t even believe in the Bible.” Fine. I’m not here to convert you. However, regardless of your beliefs, you have to admit that these wise words are much more harmonious, not only in your life, but for the rest of the community than some of the self-centered acts we constantly see displayed.

Despite the sometimes strong tone here, I do hope this will help each of us think twice and develop the desire to respect and have patience with one another for the sake of peace, unity and safety in our communities. I am a firm believer that the world CAN be a better place to live. Let’s start in our own neighborhoods.


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