Driving is a great opportunity to evangelize
We want the annoyingly slow person in front of us to get out of our way. In our own estimation we're very important and have places to be NOW—and that vehicle needs to move over to make way for us!
But that slow driver has as much validity God’s eyes as we do. Who are we to say that our needs are more urgent than theirs? Perhaps that slowpoke had a bad accident two weeks ago and this is his or her first time back on the road? Maybe he’s very old and just being careful not to have or cause an accident? Maybe the driver is a nervous teen who’s just got her license?
If we knew any of these scenarios to be true, we would be more caring (I hope!).
Hey! Why Should I Be Humble?
In his terrific new book, Love Awakened by Love: The Liberating Ascent of Saint John of the Cross* Father Mark O’Keefe writes that “To walk in…..faith….. requires abiding attitudes of trust, docility, and humility. God is at work in us. …. (and) wants union with us more than we ourselves could possibly desire it.”
God wants to work in our lives, but He can’t if our free will won’t let Him in. There’s no room for God in us if we’re too full of ourselves. We need to empty ourselves of the ‘me’ to make 100% of our souls available for Him.
It’s a difficult task, and one which requires God’s help to achieve. We’re always going to fail in our own eyes (a sure sign of our pride). But if we trust and hope in God to keep us going, He will lift us up every time and make good our deficiencies.
As Father O’Keefe writes: “Hope calls us to place all things in God’s hands, pick oneself up, and get back on course to the future that God makes possible through the divine mercy and help. Christian hope, then, must always walk hand in hand with humility.”
Motorists, motorists on the road, get out of the way before I explode!
This all sounds very nice, but how do we achieve our proper pH (personal Humility) level?
My father used to quote from the Automobile Association manual in the United Kingdom, as he was racing another driver (and knew he shouldn’t be): “You must not drive in the spirit of competition.”
The way we drive is an extremely good indicator of our humility level.
I’ve come up with a few useful ways of keeping my own competitiveness under control (after all, I am a competition rider – that attitude comes naturally to me!).
1. If a driver is cutting in front of me and/or other drivers, blatantly breaking the speed limit or driving in any other infuriatingly bad way, I tell myself: “I used to drive like that—before I knew better,” or, on my more sarcastic days, “before I grew up.”
2. If a person is doddering in front of me and my impulse is to tailgate them (as if this will somehow make them speed up) I remind myself that one day I shall be very old and doddery, too, and will want other drivers to be considerate of my frailty. What goes around comes around.
3. I have a big “Jesus” sign on the back of my vehicle. One way for me to 'evangelize by deed' is to let other drivers come in front of me. Or I move over to the outside lane, to let in a car waiting to come onto the two lane highway. Even if those drivers don’t see the sign on my ancient Expedition, drivers behind me will, and hopefully I shall have led by example.
4. As I’ve written before, saying my rosary while driving is a great way not to need to rush anywhere
Of course, there's always this method of dealing with bad traffic!
Every journey is an opportunity to increase our humility and make more space for God’s work in our lives.