“We need to pray because we need God. Thinking that we need nothing other than ourselves is a dangerous illusion.”
– Pope Francis
Some say I am an “aggressive” driver. I prefer “assertive.” If I can beat the GPS estimated time by even one minute, I find immense self-worth. After 15 years of heavy travel for work, I also don’t mind cutting it close before boarding a plane, minimizing the idle time spent waiting. The combination of these attributes often makes for some interesting games of chicken. On my most recent trip, my hubris decided that I could catch a morning flight and work out and take my daughter to an orthodontist appointment and drop her off at school. The night before my flight, I began feeling a little nervous and I decided I would take an Uber to the airport to limit the time spent parking.
When the driver arrived, I hopped in and, with a fake smile on my face, politely asked that he go as quickly as was humanly possible. He looked confused and said, “No English.” As he started our trip, my nerves quickly turned into panic as he consistently drove 5-10 miles under the speed limit. The app continuously promised that I would get to the airport on time, and supplementary apps that I consulted in my seemingly eternal trip corroborated this same conclusion. Still, I was desperate for him to change lanes, blow through a yellow light, or do anything to demonstrate a sense of urgency! I prayed, read Scripture, listened to some music, and prayed again - but my left leg began shaking so hard, as if the kinetic energy might accelerate the Mazda to go quicker. I couldn’t help it. I snapped. “I need you to go faster.” I said it loudly, embracing the long-held belief of my grandparents that if you just talk louder to someone who doesn’t speak English, you will be better understood. The driver turned around and the Holy Spirit clearly gave him the ability to speak to me in a firm tone, “I not too slow! You too late!”
As I sheepishly ducked out of the car at Terminal C, arriving two minutes later than if I had driven myself, I decided a big tip, a good review, and a little self-reflection was in order. When I create the conditions for my challenges, do I place blame on others’ inability to respond how I’d like them to? And when they are trying to respond, does my sense of urgency or frustration get me to my destination any quicker? The Lord asks us to come to Him and lays out the narrow way. Who is responsible for the detours I take or wrong turns I make?
As we reflect during this Lenten season, let’s be aware of the times we suffered from the pride that allows us to believe that we can do whatever we want and still arrive at the destination to which we are called. Thankfully, unlike American Airlines, our Lord is always waiting for us. Prayers for your best Lent ever!
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