Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.
- 1 John 4:7-13
First, my wife is not “Daisy,” but when I first retired (too old to find a new job), and she had a lot of appointments, I drove her everywhere. When I took her to the church’s Fellowship of Prayer, they asked if I was joining the group. I replied, “Oh, no. I’m just driving Miss Daisy.” With everyone laughing at that, they insisted that I join the group – as comic relief, since what they discuss is far from comical, most of the time. Here a few years later, I act as secretary, since I have reasonably good word processing skills, and I can keep our postage costs down by squeezing everything onto less pages without making the font size too small to read.
But what does driving Miss Daisy have to do with loving one another?
Take this test to illustrate. If you think that you love other people with the love of Jesus, take two or three video cameras the next time you drive during rush hour traffic in the city. Simultaneously videotape yourself, the dashcam view, and maybe the rearview view. How long do you last? How long will it be before you say a dirty word? How long will it take before you change lanes suddenly because some jerk cut you off in traffic and you must pass them? (That’s where the rearview image is useful with the car that you did not see going into the ditch to avoid you.)
People may say that they love their fellow man, but they do not show it, not one iota, when behind the wheel of a car in heavy traffic. It is as if every driver is claustrophobic and they must get to open highway to feel sane, at all costs, no matter who they run off the road. It becomes “all about ME.”
Before I get to my original story, I want to mention what happened the following day. I was driving to the dialysis center. Since I was laid off, a housing development has been added in the deep wood near where I used to work. As I approached the stop sign for the new intersection, a young boy was turning right out of the housing development in a brand new SUV. He was texting and he shoved the gas pedal to the floor. His SUV must have had a collision alarm. As he failed to turn, with both hands on the phone, he went into the ditch on my side of the road, coming close to hitting a tree. He jerked the wheel to avoid the tree, now heading straight for me, still not looking, still both hands on the phone. I was completely stopped and too much in shock to even honk the horn. The alarm must have gone off again, because he took one hand and steered to avoid the accident. He never hit the brake. He never looked. His steering was excellent in that I have no idea how he missed me. I raised my hands toward Heaven and screamed something incoherent. Maybe the Holy Spirit cleaned it up for God to hear what I was thinking. Then, I drove on. The new safety features may avoid an accident here or there, but they make us worse drivers, less attentive.
What brought this on? I experienced the real rush hour next to our church a couple of weeks ago, before dawn. My old rush hour was down fairly rural roads, some were barely paved farm roads, getting to the industrial park and my office about a hundred yards after emerging from the deep wood, and the ground hogs, chipmunks, wild turkeys, and deer. But on this morning, my wife, not really called “Daisy,” had a sleep study done at a hospital that was further into the city than our church, which is on the edge of the city sprawl next to the Interstate highway. My wife was hungry, so we stopped at the fast food place that is diagonally across from the church, sort of, since there is a creek and the next traffic light between them. And before you get upset with her dietary choice, it was the only place open at that time of the morning. I pulled away from the drive-in window and onto the far-left left-hand turn lane, just as the light turned yellow. I regret not running it. When the light was finally green, both left turn lanes were full, full of angry demons as it turned out. Immediately after the left turn, the ramp onto the Interstate highway was to the right. I wanted to go straight, but that lane was also for people who wanted to go south on the Interstate, eventually turning left. In typical Pittsburgh fashion, everyone in the left lane wanted to turn right and everyone in the right lane wanted to turn left or go straight, and everyone behind me just had to pass me, even though I was doing the speed limit. Absolutely no one was in the proper lane, about 30-40 cars total.
I am old. I cannot see well at night, even though the ophthalmologist says there is no reason that I cannot. I have no idea how everyone got where they were going without a dozen crashes. Everyone pressed their horn button simultaneously, and they all flipped on their bright headlights to blind the other drivers in order for them to zoom forward while everyone else hit the brakes. There were shrieks of tires either from braking or spinning tires in acceleration, and engines revved to the maximum. No one hit anyone else. It was probably a daily miracle at that intersection. I slowly moved forward like a turtle, praying. My wife was crying and gripping the sissy bar, as if that would help.
But, as for me, my blood pressure was off the charts. My pulse was in the danger zone. I tried five or six times to change to the righthand lane, but those in the righthand lane who were supposed to get on the Interstate and did not do so were blocking my attempt. I nearly came to a complete stop after we passed the next Interstate onramp and there was no longer anyone behind me. I slowly made it into the other lane. My wife asked why I nearly stopped to move to the “slow” lane, and I said that I just wanted to slowly get home and let the crazy people have the rest of the road.
Backtracking with my story, the night before when I took her to the hospital, I was turning right at a different intersection and a luxury car was turning left from the opposite direction. I had the right-of-way, but we ended up turning at the same time. The guy turned on his bright headlights, blinding me. Why? I do not know. Being nearly blind, I lost sight of the curb, so I swung further to the left and closer to his rapidly approaching vehicle, further than necessary to avoid the curb. The other driver had made his turn anticipating me to accelerate like a NASCAR driver. He had no thought that I might stop. He stopped, luckily, about six inches from my car door and what might have ended up with me in the hospital instead of my wife, if I survived. Since we never touched, we both drove on, he behind me. He maintained his bright headlights as he followed me to show me who was really in charge. He eventually turned off the road.
Before we got to the hospital, another fellow did a totally non-aggressive thing. I needed to be in the left lane to turn at the hospital, so I got behind this guy, and he, abruptly, came to a complete stop at a green light. I was shocked, almost hitting him, but I did not retaliate with bright lights or honking the horn or rolling down the window and cursing at him. Maybe he was lost. Maybe he was color blind. Or, could I have missed a different reason to stop? To illustrate the other possibility…
But back to that following morning before the sun came up. I know; I am jumping around. I also had my kind of rush hour that I remembered when I was working. Twice on the way to pick up my wife at the hospital and once one the way back home, after all the demon drivers had turned onto other roads, I had to stop to allow deer to cross the road. Three times on one trip, during “rush hour.” It is rutting season, and I knew I was far enough away from the maddening crowds to finally calm down.
We say the words, “Love one another,” but do we live the words?
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.