MIRANDA’S VERSION: Today Brett and I went out to run a few errands. Traffic was bumper to bumper as we drove through ‘old town’ to stop at the post office and then the bike shop. When we pulled out of the bike shop the traffic cleared up and Brett drove like Mario Andretti. I said, “Brett, the speed limit is 25.” He replied, “Oh is it?” But, he didn’t bother slowing down. Now, I don’t like to nag or repeat myself, but I can think of better ways to spend money than on a speeding ticket. So I said again, “Brett, the speed limit is 25.” I’m sure I was as annoying as I felt. He acknowledged that he heard me, but still did not slow down. Since I drive that area of town more often than he does, I told him that I often see police pull cars over in that area for speeding. He assured me that I was in the passengers seat to keep an eye out for hidden police cars. I, on the other hand, emphatically replied, “No, I’m here to tell you what the speed limit is!”
BRETT’S VERSION: Today, Miranda and I took off for town to get a couple of things done. I was driving because being a passenger is not one of my spiritual gifts. It was late in the day so traffic was horrible downtown. It was bumper to bumper on the narrow one-way, two-lane road and really slowing us down. We had things to do and all the other drivers seemingly were united in purpose to keep us blocked in and crawling along. Finally, I saw an opening. It wasn’t a huge opening, but big enough for me to wedge my turbo Baja into and find some open space. The Mercedes coming up on my left was just enough behind that I could cut lanes and not force him into the sidewalk. I cut and then hit the turbo. Now, I only did this for two reasons; first, I didn’t want to make the Mercedes have to slow down (that was thoughtful of me) second; when I found the open lane there was a good 7 or 8 car-lengths of emptiness in front of me. If I didn’t act quickly I would lose the opportunity to get ahead and take the lead at the next light. I would assume all of this would be blatantly obvious to Miranda, I mean, who wouldn’t see this!? However, as soon as I began to implement operation Get-Ahead, she throws out that the speed limit is only 25 MPH. What am I supposed to do with this information? I know what the speed limit is, but that only applies in normal, every day driving, not this obvious special need circumstance! So, I simply reply, “Oh, is it? And just for her I brought the speedometer down one or two notches, though I don’t think she appreciated it or even noticed. About halfway through my open run (why have a turbo if you’re not going to use it?) she repeats herself stating the speed limit is 25 MPH. Now, being the good driver that I am, my focus is on all the cars around me and making sure no one has enough time or space to try to cut me off, so I gave her a kindly, and full of love, grunt of acknowledgement. It obviously wasn’t enough because then she says that her experience is that she has seen people all the time pulled over here because they don’t obey the speed limit. Now, I admit that sometimes my reactions are quicker than my ability to evaluate the repercussions of my reactions. I only meant to be light-hearted when I jokingly said, “That’s why you are here, to watch out for the police!” Not appreciating my attempt at levity Miranda shot back, “No, I’m here to tell you the speed limit!” I got it and slowed down.
Now, I don’t want you to think that I’m a saint or anything, because I’m not, but when Miranda said that to me, a typical human response would have been to get angry or upset at being reprimanded. However, the first thing (OK, not the very first thing, but close) to come into my mind is the similarities to my spiritual life this experience bore. Sometimes I’m cruising along through life when I start to feel “held back” or things aren’t happening fast enough. In those times, instead of letting God guide me, I tend to take things into my own hands and try to be the driver of my life. I see what I think is an opportunity opening up that I must quickly take advantage of, even if it means cutting a few people off. I mean, that’s OK in special circumstance, right? While I’m in the process, God usually sends a still small voice to warn me. I may casually acknowledge Him and even give a partial and passive response, but I keep going. He continues to warn me of possible impending consequences to my actions and I continue to nod in agreement without really changing (I told you I’m not a saint). Sometimes, when my actions do bring hurt or pain into my life I cry out, “God! You’re suppose to look out for those things for me!” and I can now hear Him reply (thanks to the wisdom of my wife) “No, I’m here to remind you about my laws that I gave to protect you.” That’s when I can look back at my choices and actions and see where I crashed through the two principal laws God has given me; To love Him and love others. It’s so blatantly obvious, who wouldn’t see it? 😉