I’m writing this from the best cabin on the west coast—my aunt’s place in the Portland woods. Cooper and I drove up here, through hazardous smoke from surrounding forest fires. Finally, after driving through smoke for an hour, and passing a trucker wearing a breathing mask, I decided to look it up and find out where all the smoke was coming from. The answer was, everywhere. There were several different fires, and the air quality for the region we were driving through was at the “hazardous” level. In case you are unlearned in air quality denomination system, “hazardous” is the worst it can be. Needless to say, Cooper wanted to forego stopping for lunch until we found some clean air. We came through it fine though, and I’m enjoying some very fresh Oregon air, along with cards with cousins, chats with grandma, and antics of the food carts/donut shops/farmers markets/getting lost in the woods nature. I’m a long way from my old life in Florida, but somehow I see FC people everywhere. It’s nice—it makes this big world feel so much smaller. I got to surprise the Oregon camp friends, which was just lovely.
Speaking of FC friends, one of my overly conservative friends at FC once told me that he disapproved of those popular “Jesus fish” bumper stickers that people put on their cars. I was expecting him to say that they were liberal or something. No, he was worried that if a Christian had one, they would eventually sell the car. Then, the car would probably belong to a non-Christian, who would either drive badly and make people think it was a hypocritical Christian, or take the sticker off, leaving residue, and making people think that the car belonged to someone who had lost their faith. I found this thought process to be mind-boggling, but mildly entertaining.
At this point, you might be a little confused, since this post is so very unlike my last post. After all, it was a big heap of crying and driving. A little ironic, considering this lovely bit of advice my traffic school gave me recently:
No, I didn’t get pulled over by the waaaambulance, that isn’t why I got stuck doing traffic school. It was a bright Sunday morning, my car packed with clan members, when I got pulled over for speeding like a fiend down the PCH. I guess that means that this paragraph was meant for me:
Easy for the condescending, mighty traffic school gurus to say—they don’t know what it’s like to be late to church! It’s not that I am, “preoccupied with myself,” as they accuse. I just want to show that I actually care about being there by being punctual. I’m not trying to, “get there first,” I’m just trying to get there on time. Being late is not really a part of my plan.
So I learned some valuable lessons from traffic school, and got some other fun facts thrown in just for fun.
Yes, I learned a thing or two from traffic school. But it wasn’t always an easy process. Last week, after a week of living in a cabin with a gaggle of 7th grade girls, I sat in my Malibu Starbucks for hours, staring at the traffic school text on my computer screen. One can only stare at traffic school for so long before they inevitably fall headfirst onto their keyboard in what my mom refers to as “sleep of depression.” There I was, defeated, keyboard making a brand on my forehead, dreaming in the middle of the Malibu Starbucks, when I was interrupted by a tap on my shoulder. Dazedly looking around for the culprit, I was distressed to see the Starbucks employee standing over me. Surely he would tell me to stop snoring in his establishment. My embarrassment quickly turned into some form of lifelong indebtedness, when he instead said, “Hey, we are throwing away our pastries in an hour. So, would you like one?” Let me tell you. That free pastry had magical powers. I went into beast mode, and my traffic school quizzes were completed within the hour.
I guess I learned a lot about driving this past few months. Better to leave early or arrive late, than to pay several hundred dollars, sit through hours of traffic school, or die. But even the concepts that we grasp when it comes to driving are lost when it comes to applying them to our real lives:
- If you’re driving through fire, don’t stop.
- Too often (young people in particular) make important life decisions based off of emotion, and end up steering their lives in wrong directions or getting into collisions with others.
- Christians regularly navigate their lives offensively, rather than defensively. “That’s my right!” “I earned this!” When we maneuver our lives with worldly mindsets, what makes us any different? Claiming to be a Christian, but having the “get there first” mentality is like driving recklessly with a Jesus fish bumper sticker on your car.
- If there is one thing that is consistent about LA traffic flow, it’s that it is bad. Accidents, bad weather, and construction are just part of the deal. You just have to turn up the radio and take what comes. But for some reason, when it comes to our lives, we act so surprised when there is a hold up or hang up or rerouting.
- If you are following someone else so closely that they are blocking your view of the big picture, then you are following them too closely.
- It is much better to avoid a collision with others than to try to correct your course the moment before impact.
- Having the “right-of-way” doesn’t give you license to be a jerk. Just because you have the right to do something doesn’t mean it is always the correct thing to do.
- Drive the road less traveled—it’s less congested.
- Whenever possible, offer people pastries—it can do more for them than you would expect.
Peace, Love, Shoes.
Oh, and P.S.
What were they thinking?