Monday, January 23, 2006

Jesus Rides Beside Me

That’s from one of my favorite bands of all time, The Replacements. The rest of the lyric goes “He never buys any smokes,” which is theologically correct (why WOULD Jesus buy cigarettes) but makes me laugh at the thought that someone’s pissed that He didn’t.

But I like the idea of Jesus riding in the car with you. No, I haven’t seen Book Of Daniel, where apparently He does that. But I’ve been told by many a church that you should pray whenever and where ever the mood strikes you, including sitting in traffic.

I’m the type of driver that rarely sits in traffic. I’ll take side streets galore, even if it means getting lost, just so I don’t have to sit still (and yes that can be applied to the rest of my furiously multi-tasking lifestyle, and yes, I know that’s where a lot of my problems in trying to connect with God start. Yes, I know. I know, I know, I know. Thanks.) But since I have a car that’s older than Moses, and the tape deck (see?) doesn’t work, and the radio sucks so much of the time that it’s better off being turned off, there happens to be silence in the car a lot of the time. So I pray.

There is the dilemma of praying where you can (in my car) versus approaching a conversation with God with the appropriate reverence and respect (on your knees in a church), but irreverence is me all over, and God has to know that, since He’s the one who created me, so praying in the car it is.

So the other day, after I imagined Jesus yelling “Shotgun!” and jumping into the passenger seat, it hit me that maybe I should try praying for other people that I see while driving. And I liked that idea very much. Because it meant I didn’t actually have to talk to them. I’m not really good with people I don’t know, which would be…everybody outside of the car. It’s a drive by praying! Sign me up!

And it’s kinda vague at first. “Lord, please bless that car…and that car.” Then I thought I should get more specific, because if I’m not, God may not actually bless the car I wanted Him to bless, But you SAID that car! So I blessed that car! How was I supposed to know you meant the other car!?

So again, “Lord, please bless…the white car. Please bless the maroon car in front of me. Please bless the Honda that just let me into his lane. Thanks Honda! Blessings on you and you don’t even know it! Rockin’! Lord, please bless the silver wait, they’re trying to make a left turn when the signs clearly say you can’t do that. I TAKE AWAY MY BLESSING ON YOU! You’re cursed, Camry! You’re cursed and you don’t even know it! Ptooie on you!

I pray for the person pushing an overloaded shopping cart. Please give that person peace and rest and a safe place to stay for the night. I pray for that mom and child holding hands while crossing the street. Please love that family, Lord. I pray for the hottie in the track suit. Let him find the love of his life, even if it’s not me.

I pray for the girl in the Juicy sweats. I pray that she knows happiness in whatever form it takes today. I pray for the two skateboarders. Please don’t let them break their necks, their moms would be very sad.

I pray for the person applying mascara in the car in front of me. I pray that where ever they’re going today, you give them the confidence they need to meet the situation with a smile and batted mascara laden eyes…oh wait, it’s a guy. Oh wait, it’s not mascara, it’s a cell phone. Well, bless the guy anyway, Lord. And please let me remember to find an optometrist this week, so I can finally get those glasses I obviously need.”

And at first, it did feel kinda dopey, driving by and thinking at break neck speed “blessingsonyouandeveryoneyou’rewithhaveaniceday!” But then again, nobody could hear me being dopey. Jesus is probably trying not to laugh, but I have a feeling He does that a lot of the time with me. Clamping both hands over His mouth, shaking with suppressed laughter, not being successful, coming out in little snorts and wheezes. Jesus had to snort at some time, didn’t He? I think so.

But the more I did the drive by praying thing, the more things I asked God to bless – the cars, the people, the dogs, the very nice police car behind me – the more it got me into a giddy frame of mind. Is THIS is peace of God? No, this is you acting like an idiot. But still, feeling giddy is much better than feeling annoyed, which I think is what 99 percent of Los Angeles drivers feel.

Yes, it’s superficial. If I really wanted to be helpful, I’d stop the car and help every single person I saw to the utmost of my ability, which would, well, be impossible. So baby steps it is. Drive by praying it is. Next time I think it’s praying for people in the grocery line. We’ll see.


Anonymous said...

let me know your usual morning drive route. i feel a need to be blessed. :-)


Craig said...

As for Jesus snorting, I belive St. Bartolo wrote of an obscure event during the last supper that didn't make the Bible. Jesus mentioned that one of his twelve chosen would betray him. Judas asked "Is it me Lord?" And Jesus laughed until wine came out of his nose.
Guess you had to be there.

Anonymous said...

Wow, this is highly inspirational. Thinking back on this morning's comute as I held my hand on the freakin horn as the guy infront of me is trying to take a left from the wrong lane. Maybe I should've blessed him instead. naaaaah he's an idiot. ; )

Don't sell yourself short. I feel that praying for someone one IS the greatest gift you can give them. They decide their own choices from there.

I just love your blog. xoxo Lori