I made a mistake this morning. I commute on I-635 (which was not the mistake necessarily), and every day, it gets slowed or jammed at the I-35 overpass. Every day, someone comes cruising up the shoulder after the split to come in, and every day, someone lets that person or those people in. Today, as I’m sitting and listening, going over my list for the day (and wondering what to write an article about), I see in my rearview mirror a car speeding up the shoulder, then quickly veer into my lane, and then the next, almost clipping me. The driver of this car proceeds to ride the tail of the person in front of him—the left lane slows to merge traffic from I-35E S—and as I’m right next to him, he decides he’s had enough of his lane and is coming into mine. As I was currently in the space he wanted to fling his car into, I laid on the horn to indicate no, two objects cannot occupy the same space at the same time. He looked at me like I was nuts, and proceeded to pull behind me, then onto the shoulder to try and pass me. At this point, I’m worried that I’ll be one of those statistics somewhere, so I again lay on the horn. He pulls ahead of me, throws his car into park and gets out screaming obscenities. I proceeded to again lay on my horn, now just trying to notify people around me, and after some posturing (which included reaching for his waistband on the back of his pants), he got in his car and kept going. I was not at Webb Chapel before he disappeared from view.
I realized something, though, as the adrenaline faded. First, I really did want his car to blow up, and hopefully throw him clear and unharmed of the explosion, though if I am being honest, the latter part was not a requirement. Second, the smartest thing I could have done in that situation was to slow down and just let the guy go ahead of me. Third, as the conflict was happening, to start taking pictures of him and his car, though if this guy was armed, I don’t know what it would have done, which led to the fourth conclusion: I should have just let go of my control in the situation.
I drive a lot. I always have. I hopefully always will. My car has over 180,000 miles on it (that’s Bangor, Maine to San Diego, California and back twenty-six times). A massive pet peeve of mine is offensive driving—folks who drive like they’re the only folks on the road, the only folks on a deadline, and the only folks who matter. I don’t like it when people drive up the lane that’s closing to avoid traffic. I don’t like folks who tailgate other drivers. I especially don’t like folks who nearly clip five or six cars because they want to go fast. But at the same time, I do not have a badge. No body of authority has granted me the right to try and correct these people. While the horn usually works (especially when used as a warning of “You will hit me if you continue to drive like this”), when it doesn’t, the next step might be letting go of the investment in conflict, worry and fear because those dividends often lead to greater problems. I don’t know. Maybe I am writing this for myself, for future reference. But maybe you, too, would totally be deputy traffic police if the chance were offered.
This Sunday, we will be looking at if God lets go, and if we are called to let go; also, if we are deputized to do something or anything, and what that might be. It should be an interesting Sunday—and, for folks who will consider this good news: none of our texts are from Leviticus. I look forward to seeing you all Sunday.