Friday, October 2, 2009

Driving as a Spiritual Practice

Christine Sine has collected a whole set of posts from people about "What is a Spiritual Practice?" It includes reflections on a whole host of things from running and throwing parties, to smoking, sex and yes, driving.

The driving post caught my attention and I encourage you to check it out here. The author finds six different ways in which we can recognize the spiritual dimensions of this daily activity that often feels empty... something we just have to do in between important things.

I wanted to add one of my own, so here is what I wrote as a comment there:

Just found your wonderful post by way of Christine Sine’s collection on spiritual practices.

I stumbled into driving as spiritual practice first by way of confession.

I noticed that when I merge onto the freeway, I often get irritated if people don’t make at least some effort to let me in. Then when I’m in the right lane, I get irritated by people trying to merge if they don’t take the initiative and end up making me speed up or slow down! I am totally self-centered, and change my sense of the “rules of the road” so that it’s always the other person’s job to make the merge work!

What a sinner. ;) I thank God I can laugh at my self-centered self.

But since then, as I’ve made it my job to intentionally facilitate other people’s merges, I’ve started to hear a phrase from John 14:2 “I go to prepare a place for you.” The phrase is curiously out of context, but even so it has become a part of my spiritual practice of driver’s hospitality.

And, lucky me, I get to engage in this practice over, and over, and over, and over again… every day!!

And blessedly, I am generally less irritated now.


Michael Schellman said...

That is really an interesting dynamic. (How one's personal expression of "the rules" change according to what is the most convenient for Me). Reveals a very "me" centered universe that we all live in.

Feral Pastor said...

Yup! It's a great illustration of one of the classic definitions of the condition of sin as being "curved in on self" (incurvatus in se) which I got from Luther who apparently got it from Augustine. The definition, that is. Not the condition. ;)