Did you know that you can’t or don’t drive aggressively if you are praying for the person in the vehicle ahead of you? Most people know that I have a rather heavy foot and like to get from point A to point B quickly and efficiently. But my morning commute is neither quick nor efficient.
A year ago, I moved to Dartmouth, and since I still work in Halifax, this involves a daily commute over one of the bridges. The distance as the crow flies is only 11 kilometers, unfortunately, I am not a crow. After 4 years of living only 2 kilometres away from my church and an additional four years before that of working from home, the daily commute aggravated me each day.
Given that we just built a house in Dartmouth, the likelihood that I will continue to commute is high. Resenting the drive wasn’t helping matters any; in fact, was possibly making it worse. So, I did what I always do eventually, I prayed about it. This was the answer I received, “Pray for the people along your route, bless then and share my love with them.” Even as a minister, I find it challenging to find time for prayer. Phone calls, visits, meetings, sermon preparation, a thousand other things on my list often take priority; which sooner or later impacts my connection with God and the sacred.
At first glance, praying while driving may seem like another form of multi-tasking, just one more way to get a task done while doing something else. But that depends on your approach. For me it’s being mindful and noticing my surroundings and I simply pray for the person or people in the car directly in front of me. I hold them in the light of God’s love and visualize positive energy surrounding them. I pray that whatever that person may need will come to them. It may be just for a few seconds, or it may be for my entire commute. One morning, I followed a blue car onto the highway and it stayed directly in front of me until the exit off the bridge, where I went one way and it went another. I felt a curious loss of intimacy as our path diverged.
The picture above is similar to what I see on my morning commute, lines of red taillights, keeping me from getting to my appointed tasks! I took this one on my day off; my husband was driving. What do you see? It’s certainly not nearly as lovely as the other pictures I have posted, you may have to look closer or with different eyes to see the sacred beauty displayed. What do I see? I see God’s people, of various kinds, going to work or school or hospital. I see God’s people, in the midst of concentric and overlapping circles of connection and responsibility. My prayers slow me down, my prayers let me arrive at my destination calm and ready to be present to whatever my day brings, my prayers enable me to tap into the divine spirit that lies within all of us. Do they make a difference to anyone along my route? Who knows? They make a difference to me and the people I meet that day.
And so this week, my window on God’s world, is the windshield.