Monday, February 22, 2010

Highway Driving

The problem with getting away from it all is that when you live, as I do, in an urban area, you have to do a lot of highway driving before you are away from it all. If the highway is congested, it's yet another stressor that presumably you were trying to escape.

The other day as we were getting away from it all, heading south on Rt. 93 from Boston, I came to the split in the highway for the HOV lane (high occupancy vehicle = 2+people—and how it is that two people is high occupancy for a car is yet another commentary on the need to get away from it all). I don't take this road often and didn't act quickly enough to get into the lane, but consoled myself with the thought that there would be another chance.

Not so.

You see, the HOV lane has one entrance and one exit—if you take the HOV lane you can't get lost, and really, you can't get off either. You've made a commitment, and can sail on by the others who are stuck in the traffic jam.

A highway shall be there,

and it shall be called the Holy Way;

the unclean shall not travel on it,

but it shall be for God's people;

no traveler, not even fools, shall go astray.

Isaiah 35: 8

What does it take for us to get onto the Holy Way? God promises that we will not go astray once we are there. I think that many of us fear that we only had one chance, that we've missed our turn, or that it's too much hassle.

After missing the HOV lane, we finally made it down past the congestion and traffic thinned out some. But the point where you know that you really are away from it all is when, on Rt. 6 on Cape Cod at least, the road narrows to one lane with no passing for the next 13 miles. "No traveler, not even fools, shall go astray." There are a couple of exits, but for the most part, it is just a clear shot down the road. Sometimes, I think, we have to make choices to turn our lives over to God, to be on the Holy Way. Oddly, but blessedly, once that decision is made and we get past the congestion and mental mess that we are in, it is smooth traveling.

Perhaps the most important thing is not to mistake the commuter HOV lane for the Holy Way.

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