10 and 2
Most days, I love to drive. Ruling out days where ice, snow, or thunderstorms are on the menu, I enjoy being behind the wheel. I even relish a trip on our riding mower (when my husband lets me cut the grass). I’d much rather be the driver than the passenger and I’m sure that speaks to my need for control, autonomy, etc… but that’s for a different time. Today, it’s all about the driving.
Imagine with me, if you will… you are on your way to “somewhere” and you arrive at a newly paved road: dark fresh asphalt; smooth, barely touched road; bright yellow temporary center markers painted to divide the traffic lanes; wide driving space. You course down the road with barely a bump. No potholes. No guessing where your lane ends and the oncoming traffic begins. It’s glorious! And it’s even better when the sun is showering you with happy drops and the vibrant foliage around you entices you to just keep going.
Usually, that puts me in a comfortable place with one-handed driving and a laid back attitude. And my mind wanders – I think of all sorts of things from shopping lists to work tasks to dinner ideas. I remember who I forgot to call and what gifts I need to pick up. I think of anything and everything other than the thing I’m actually doing which is the driving. Thank God that He has equipped our minds to dual-function like that. Our “muscle-memory” will take us where we need to go, especially on a routine trip like my morning work commute. Our subconscious is handling the navigation while we are free to roam our mental cabin.
But there is one part of my trip to work that I almost always pay attention to. This is where my hands go to 10 and 2 and I’m all in – fully focused, ready to absorb my surroundings. This section has a concrete road with a slightly rougher finish. My tires quietly “thunk-thunk” over the segment dividers and I’m mesmerized by the gentle bounce at each one. The road is wide and welcoming and the landscaping is lush and green. When the weather is cooperative, my windows are down and I take in the sound of the air rushing past the windows and the birds’ songs filling the space. I feel like I’m traveling to a vacation spot and I allow myself to be enraptured in the moment.
I think most of our lives are lived on auto-pilot. We go through life with one hand on the wheel and our minds somewhere else. Life keeps going and we get where we need to go, but it’s all happening while we think of other places to be, other things to do, and other people to be with. Life is drowned out by lists, appointments, tasks. We may be on a smooth ride, but we aren’t engaged.
And, though we need to be responsible and ensure our life demands don’t get missed, we also need to realize that maybe it’s time we put our hands on 10 and 2. Open the windows and take in the laughter, the conversation, the atmosphere. Be fully engaged in the here and now. Be present enough to allow the subtle bounces in life to be fun instead of a nuisance. What are we missing when we just coast down the road? What blessings are we taking for-granted because we don’t allow ourselves to slow down and notice. Life is beautiful, it’s fun, and we shouldn’t miss it. Enjoy the ride!