Drinking. Texting. Sleeping. When my car suddenly veered right — and right off the road — this morning on the way to work, anyone observing likely ticked one of those off in their mind. I plead innocent on all three counts.
I’ve lately used my twenty-minute commute to and from the office to listen to CD’s rather than radio. Before and after spending a day following the persistent string of what has been done, what must be done and what others want done, making up my own mind about what will roost in my head, even for a few minutes, feels liberating.
“One always feels better when one has made up one’s mind,” says one of the characters in C.S. Lewis’s book, The Last Battle — the final volume in his classic Chronicles of Narnia series. In my case, perhaps I felt too much better, judging by what happened next.
I could, though I won’t, blame Lewis himself for my erratic driving. When the road and I parted company, I’d been listening to the climactic closing scene of that very book in audio form, the scene where Aslan, the Lion, chosen by Lewis to represent Jesus Christ, calls, “Come further up! Come further in!”
Contemplating Lewis’s beautiful parallels to God’s great story of life and death, I prepared, from long habit, to make my usual turn off the highway. Flicking on my blinker, I steered toward the lane that branched right. In a few seconds I caught up and drew alongside the semi I’d followed on the highway. Only when I’d reached the connection between its two trailers did I realize that I had pulled onto the shoulder before the turn lane actually began. Even worse, just as I sailed into the trucker’s blind spot, his right blinker began flashing.
Have you ever noticed, when faced with the probability of something far worse, that an ordinarily frightening choice suddenly feels quite safe, even desirable?
Assuming imminent destruction, I swerved right. Left the road entirely, missed a pole, and careened down the sloped roadside. My car behaved nicely; almost as though we’d made that move before. At the bottom I did a U-turn, drove back up at a 90 degree angle, and reinserted myself into the turning lane — with no consequence but a crimson face and weak knees.
As for the truck — the driver waited to make his turn at the intersection up the road. I doubt he’d even noticed my adventure.
Each morning before I leave for work, the Preacher and I join hands and pray about our day. Often we tuck in a request for protection on the roads. So far, God has said yes — even when the driver we most need protection from is the one behind our own steering wheel.
I’m so grateful. Though I’m confident that no matter how it looks, there are no accidents in God’s plan, I’m not eager to have one.