Pray behind the wheel and be safe, not right
As you may remember, I am calling my sabbatical experience Nurse, Drive, Swim (like the book Eat, Pray, Love) and this article is about the second month of my sabbatical.
Once JD was able to drive to work, I left home for two and a half weeks. This was the longest period that I had ever left JD. During that time, I drove all over the country. My oldest son, Luke, will be a high school senior this fall, so it was time to look at colleges. My youngest son Max decided to come along as well. We looked at everything from large universities to small colleges all across the South and the Midwest. Through this experience, Luke was able to get some clarity on his choices. Overall, I was impressed with the quality of education that our country's universities offer. While traveling, we stayed with friends and relatives, and I also got to officiate at the wedding of our former cathedral intern Ashley Petty (now Ashley Mather). The wedding was at my former parish in Wichita, Kansas. After seven years away, returning to St. James was like a great reunion. I saw so many people who I love!
As for all the driving, being in the car for days on end with two boys was eye-opening for all of us. We were enclosed in such a small space we got sick of each other. I even got sick of myself! We had moments where we wanted to bite each other’s heads off, and moments where we just laughed or listened to music. Time in these close quarters reminded me that human beings sometimes just bump into each other. We all have quirks.
I also learned that sometimes driving itself can be a great spiritual challenge. People can be so aggressive on the road. What do we do when someone cuts us off? How do we stay calm when someone honks unreasonably or does something dangerous? All that driving challenged my prayer life! I tried breathing deeply, certain exercises to stay awake and focused, music, opening the windows, etc. I often repeated to myself the words that I tell our teens when they get their licenses: it is better to be safe than to be right.
We arrived home safely, thanks be to God, and I now have a stronger prayer life behind the wheel. I hope you pray there too.
With love in Christ,