One morning about twenty-five years ago, I was sitting at the breakfast table and watching the traffic busily passing our windows. Between me and the road, there was a wide grassy area with trees scattered here and there. Shadows fell before them as the morning sun’s rays washed against the big gums. Further in, the orchard fruit glowed with healthy colour.
I knew that the workers and students, travellers and shoppers were probably passing without a moment’s thought to the fruit trees on the other side of our fence. They had to watch where they were going, of course!
I wrote that this thought occurred to me: each vehicle is a separate little world. Inside each car, truck, bus or even motorbike, was a room containing all the odds and ends that the owner carried: clothing, tissues, rubbish, food, and of course, people.
It also came to me that we are the same. Each one of us carries our own little world. Just as a car goes from one place to another, and bears everything in it, so we also move along, transporting our load of possessions. Some of it is rubbish, but much is good. Once in a while, the contents are cleaned out or sorted into their proper order. It’s good if we let God do that for us!
Another driver cannot know most of what other cars contain below window level. An outsider can’t see much of what we carry inside our bodies or our minds. Our spirits are foreign places too. But through our ‘windows’, our eyes, the perceptive observer can detect something of our burdens, our fears, our hopes, joys and delights.
I pondered how much more pleasant it is to spend a journey travelling in a clean, tidy vehicle. As I wrote in my journal, I wondered if the conglomeration of detritus in many cars may contribute to the peace or chaos on the roads. For instance, drivers can be distracted if their car is full of obstreperous children. How often had I turned my head to reprimand a child jostling with his sibling!
Our souls are filled with competing thoughts. Each fear or hope tries to come to the surface and gain our attention. Had I ever thought to stop and sort out the contents of my mind before leaving home? It would be worthwhile to discard the rubbish, tidy the dashboard and put everything in its designated place before setting off on a trip!
We all have a responsibility to other road-users to respect their needs. We all want them to be alert and courteous to us. A quick prayer before entering our vehicle is a good habit and can calm our mind and spirits. I know that God travels with me wherever I go, so that’s an incentive to make my world attractive and pleasant for my honoured companion.
Keeping a journal is handy for checking my progress in life. As I re-read this old entry, I was reminded of the picture that God had shown me on that morning long ago. How many times had I put this information into practice since then?
And was I still aware, out of the corner of my eye, that my ‘carriage’ was passing a peaceful scene, or had I allowed my mind to remain addled by the things I was carrying on my way to a future destination?
I know I need God all the time! My prayer is that I will remember what he’s shown me in the past and continue to put it into practice.