So, the truck we bought last April has a problem with the transmission. It’s in the shop, although if the repair’s going to cost more than a couple hundred bucks (ha!), we have no way of paying for it. I’m not really sure what the point is. Too bad we have 20 more payments to make on it, huh? But chin up, carry on and all that. So out comes the trusty, dusty 1995 Pontiac Gran Prix to do its duty to the Trotter family once again and haul the hubby to and from the bus stop each day. Which means that I’ve spent more than my normal amount of time driving over the last week. (I’m totally spoiled – if I don’t absolutely have to leave my little town, I don’t!) Last night while driving back home from the bus stop with a sleepy hubby in the passenger seat, I realized that I had left one of my very best idea for enjoying the hard life out of my book: praying while you drive.
A couple of years ago, I was going to be a massage therapist and my teacher was the most unique man – a Christian hypno/massage therapist who claims to be able to see angels around people and read their auras, among other unusual talents. He also believes that after Jesus’ return, we’ll all be nudists. And that Americans ought to be working to overthrow their government and that the law of attraction is basically true. Yeah, he’s a mite strange, but also very smart, kind, humane and tolerant. And faithful. He loves Jesus more than he loves himself. (I always think that one of the real benefits of a properly functioning Christian faith is that it means you’re more impressed that someone is good and kind than put off by how strange they are. You get to meet much more interesting people that way.)
Any ways. As I mentioned, in addition to being a massage therapist, this man was also a highly trained and skilled hypnotherapist. Often he would meet Christians who objected to the idea of hypnosis as un-Christian. He would always respond by trying to convince them that hypnosis is actually the deepest state of prayer that a person can obtain. While in a state of hypnosis, he believed, all the parts of yourself that are keep you cut off from your true identity and connection to God – your tendency to criticize, be fearful, be self-conscious and uncertain – are temporarily deactivated. He would also try to explain that hypnosis is actually a very normal, natural state which we all slip in and out of many times a day. The best example, he would say, is when you are driving. It’s how you can get to where you are going and not really remember much about the drive there.
When I heard him say that, something clicked in my head. You see, for years I have made a habit of praying when I drove. And I used to drive a lot. For whatever reason, keeping two working cars has been an ongoing issue for our family. In fact, we’d been married for a few years before it even happened. So for a long time, I regularly drove my husband into work and then kids to school each day. At one point, I figured out that I was spending a solid 5 hours a day driving. And during that time, I started using that time to pray. So much so that when the kids got a little older and would start talking to me, I’d often have to stop myself from being really irritated at the interruption – couldn’t they see I was busy? And here they were thinking I was just driving. Silly kids. ;p Given the amount of time I’ve spent driving over the years, it’s probably not an exaggeration to say that this habit of praying while driving did more for my spiritual life than any other I have.
In the last few years, a good amount of research has been done which has found that the length of one’s commute plays a huge role in a person’s well being. The longer your commute, the more likely you are to be unhealthy, unhappy, and generally unsatisfied with life. There’s the behind expanding amount of sitting, the time suck, the existential despair of continually being confronted with the depths of human stupidity. The ensuing road rage. Commuting: the curse of modern life.
Ideally, everyone would be working in close proximity to where they live, but the reality is that for many of us, that just isn’t an option. Maybe one day we’ll figure out a better way to manage things, but in the meantime why not turn your commute into a time of blessing? Instead of radio flipping or flipping out at other drivers, just start talking to God. See where it takes you. Maybe be quiet a little and listen. Driving already puts you in a pretty good brain state for it. It might just turn your most cursed time of day into your most blessed time of day.
BTW, I got this note from a fellow writer last night about The Upside Down World’s Guide to Enjoying the Hard Life: “Hey Rebecca, Your title grabbed me so I looked ‘inside the book’ on Amazon. Read the Raja, boy, horse tale — funny and wise. Appreciate your spare but direct style. Ordered a handful for gifts. Some will appreciate the upside down aspect; others will nod about the hard life. Something for everything. Thanks for writing it. Much success to you.” – Stacey D. Now that’s a smart lady. A good role model whose example you should go follow right now! ;)