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Posts Tagged ‘driving’

Is that an oxymoron? 
 
If you are ever in a car, and this car is headed for the edge of a cliff, and you have the option of letting the car explode 100 feet from the edge or not, I recommend that you prevent the explosion and hope to grab the steering wheel to redirect it in the remaining 100 feet. 
 
Today I was driving in rush hour.  I almost made a green light for a left turn, but the turn arrow expired just as I reached the intersection, and I waited.  It was one of those excellent but endangered lights that retains my legal right to turn on a green light if the oncoming traffic has a large enough break.  But there wasn’t one.  So I waited.  And finally after my red light, the turn arrow came back and I sped into my curve, considering those behind me who were sitting in a long, hopeless line of cars.  The road was a bit narrow, and cars filled the other side of the road.  I only saw her as I finished the 90 degree transition.  Perpendicular to my car was a lone woman, mid-road, her car stretching across three lanes of my path.  I slammed on my brakes. 
 
She had crossed a double yellow line to turn out of a left-turn-only lane, two car-lengths behind her red light.  Her attempt was to escape the traffic and enter the opposite parking lot to turn around. 
 
I waited for her, scarcely giving thought to traffic behind me.  For a split second we had made eye contact, and she sheepishly proceeded into the parking lot, as if she had just read in my face the foolishness of her decision.  (Double yellow lines are a clue to this.  Don’t cross them!) 
 
Driving on up the road, praising God for preventing an accident, I pondered what-if’s.  Really in the moment I put on my brakes I was making a decision.  I was trusting the people behind me to slow down or go around or to be slow enough in their turn to give time to smoothe out the wrinkles the other driver created.  It was not impossible or even unlikely that a car behind me would run into me. 
 
Even though this decision did not present itself as such at the time, afterward I realized that stopping was still my best choice.  T-boning another car is probably a lot more harmful than getting rear-ended (though I have a lot of stuff in my trunk that I would rather not get scrunched).  But how do you prepare your instincts for a split-second decision, to do the best thing? 
 
To God be all glory,
Lisa of Longbourn
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Where have I been, and why haven’t I been writing?  For one thing, I went to Omaha: 

 
“They’re not from a different planet, Mama.” – North and South, the BBC adaptationThe YLCF retreat was a fellowship of likeminded ladies. We all knew that going in, I think. Our differences struck me, though. Sometimes we had to reassure each other that we were not from different planets. Ranging from Colorado natives to a teacher from New York, and the Midwest towns and cities in between, there was plenty to compare. A few of the ladies attending (including Natalie – remember that, girls?) even lived in Japan for a while. So we enjoyed discovering how the same values applied in different lives, different families, at different places and to different interests. Some of us are writers. Some love to clean houses. Students, teachers, wives, mothers, sisters were there. There were seamstresses and dancers and photographers.

By design YLCF is an ecumenical organization, a place where ladies who share a common Savior can gather to encourage each other without debating theology. We retreated from our own churches and lives, our everyday friends with their spiritual problems, from the pressures of our ministries to engage in a real life version of that unity in diversity. Life at home was not forgotten, for once, but nor was it pressing. We took our families with us, whether by photos or book lists or cell phones or real live sisters. I saw God relating our conversations to what was happening in our lives at home. I know we each came away encouraged and refreshed. God is at work so creatively in so many lives and locations. He is awe-some.

I have to report that the YLCF gathering was most unexpectedly, but actually quite reasonably, quiet. 15 or so ladies variously occupied shared quiet conversations about lives, families, and God’s lessons for the year. For a while it felt like twenty questions or the game where a character’s name is on your back and you run around asking questions of everyone until you figure out who you are. By Friday evening, between some sort of synchronized driving by which we left Natalie’s gracious home in a caravan and arrived at the Christian bookstore independently and from different directions, and the frigid parking lot just outside the base, we hit our stride.

For me it was fascinating to observe the humanity of our online friends. Natalie is a real human being with everyday strengths and weaknesses. She is a transparent writer, and I appreciate when she shares her struggles and triumphs, her reflective journal entries. Seeing her in action was different, though. Her dogs bark at strangers. She looks different moving: laughing, walking, thinking – than in pictures. You’ve heard of the widow’s oil? It didn’t run out until all of her jars and pots, and her neighbors’, were full? We experienced Natalie’s pizza, where every pan in the house was filled before we ran out! All roads may lead to the Christian bookstore near her house, but no maps lead to her home. Every one of us got lost on the way, some worse than others. After reading YLCF, that adventure gave us all a common experience on which to build.

Maybe you had to be there, but we all dissolved into laughter when Natalie was reasoning with the security guard at the gate of the Air Force base to let all of us girls stuffed into three cars onto base. I think he liked us, because he was very cooperative. But each car wasn’t really communicating with the others, so we were trying to guess what would happen next, what was going on – reading lips and hand gestures and then proceeding with trial and error.

Gretchen was mentioned often. We peppered Natalie with questions about the origins of YLCF, and how she and Gretchen met. I was most surprised to hear that they’ve only been in each other’s physical presence five or six times. Yet what friends they are to each other!

The weekend was about ladies fair, traipsing through bitter cold and token snow cover. Our experiment with blooming tea was successful. Our trips to the thrift store were totally girly. And most of us more or less stayed up in one little hotel room watching the four hour miniseries, North and South.

Saturday, my friend and I chased the sun home to Colorado, not ready to surrender the day and its memories. For a while it seemed to be working. We kept it overhead, and the sun didn’t descend very quickly. The weekend’s activity was reviewed aloud. Heat invaded the piercing cold. My friend settled in and slept to the soundtrack of Anastasia while steadily the light dropped beneath the clouds until it regaled us with a prolonged sunset.

Then the moon, rising early, pursued us like a lamp from behind. I caught its beams over my shoulder like a car overtaking us on the highway. Even that night, at midnight finally home in Colorado, the pearly glow reflected off the day-old layer of snow welcoming me from my back yard. It was the after-glow, the still illuminating remnant of the light of a lovely day.

For he satisfieth the longing soul, and filleth the hungry soul with goodness.” ~ Psalms 107:9

To God be all glory,

Lisa of Longbourn

 

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The beginning of the movie Bella is a man quoting his mother, “When you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans.” 

 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” ~ Proverbs 3:5-6  

Monday I had a list of things to do a mile long, and I was convinced I could get them all done before their respective deadlines.  With relief I checked off each item.  Trying to multi-task, I turned on the oven to preheat and sat down to fill out my local ballot, for which I had made zero decisions.  The efficiency was already starting to wear away when I realized I needed my laptop and had just turned it off.  Forgetting what was behind and reaching forth to what was before, I pressed on. 

And spent about 45 minutes on my computer learning about candidates and issues.  All the while the oven was preheated and empty.  When I finally finished my ballot, the time it would take to cook lunch and eat it would eliminate one item from my list.  I chose to skip the library, because I didn’t have time to watch or listen to the items I had reserved anyway. 

After lunch I ran my errands.  Mom ran hers, too, agreeing to meet back at the house in time to depart for Bella.  The theater I chose was across town, the one offering the cheapest tickets.  (Even though we broke even for gas, I like to boycott expensive movie tickets.)  Before we left, I checked my email one more time to see if any friends had responded to my last-minute invitation to join them. 

By the time we got across the city, we were about ten minutes early.  But being out of our neighborhood, we didn’t know where the theater was.  I saw one on the left side of the street; Mom turned right.  Finally I explained I saw the sign across the street, so we made it over there.  Like a theater ashamed of its existence there was no marquis.  We parked and went in, but did not see Bella listed.  Sighing, I asked the cashier, “There’s another theater across the street in the mall, isn’t there?” 

Back in the car, we returned to the exact spot we had accidentally visited earlier, but still there was no theater in sight.  You know how malls work, though; you can start anywhere and get anywhere, especially in this one, which has a shortcut through the food court.  So we parked.  I hurried in and analyzed the map while Mom followed.  At this point the listed start time of the movie was already upon us.  I found the theater on the directory and took off in the direction, hoping my recent venture into map-reading would pay off. 

The whole race I was coaching myself, “God knows what He’s doing, Lisa.  This is for a reason.  Relax.”  Finally through the mall and across a little drive, we entered the theater, bought our tickets, and were at last standing just inside the door for screen 12.  And everything was pitch black.  The movie was just starting.  Once there was a little more light, we found our seats and heard the line, “…tell God your plans.” 

Hang with me, I’m not done.  About twenty minutes into the movie the entire screen went black.  Small fluorescent emergency lights began to flash and a calm voice informed us that an emergency had been reported in the building; everyone should move toward the exit.  Outside we moved back across the little drive. 

My brother has this laugh and dance he does when life is so unbelievable.  Rosalee on Win a Date with Tad Hamilton says, “Yikesabee.”  I sit down and watch with a smile ready to burst into a laugh.  Some people say, “You just can’t make stuff like this up.” 

In the end we got free movie passes for anytime, any in the family of theaters, with no expiration date or restriction – and we got to finish our movie after a mere 15 minute intermission.  I would have been fine if they carried sodas and popcorn to us on trays, but then they were already over the top on customer service. 

The drive home was one of those times of perfect peace.  I was trying to figure out what I thought about the movie without thinking.  Instead, feelings were just filling me, but not in an I’m-going-to-burst sort of way.  A nice thing about being the passenger is that you can pull your legs up into the seat and pretend that even though the world is flashing by at 60 miles per hour, you feel like you’re in a cozy library with a mesmerizing fire to watch.  At one point a car out my window exited the highway and I realized I’d been watching it for miles.  Outside the sun was setting, leaving shadows and light mixing in a way that is only accomplished by the looming presence of large hills in the west.  Peace is a nice thing. 

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known unto God.  And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.  ~ Philippians 4:6-7

To God be all glory,

Lisa of Longbourn

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