Monday, May 4, 2015

With or Without Thinking About It

Again, at the end of the day, I find myself in my car, sitting at the intersection where there is a sign, an unmistakable sign:  "Road Closed."  It has been this way for a month.  There are other routes home.  Every day I remind myself to take one of them.  I have only succeeded a handful of times.  Most days, without even thinking about it, I turn left out of the church parking lot and drive home the way I always have, for almost 17 years, until I hit the "Road Closed" sign.

The first couple of days the "Road Closed" sign appeared, I could drive around it.  The sign was up, they did not really mean it.  You could still drive on the road if you wanted to.

It is different now.  I can see the big equipment, the piles of broken-up road.  The road is definitely closed.  I do not know how long it will stay closed.

It is not that big a convenience to drive around it, but it is also true that there are other routes I could take home.  I could take them.  It would be easier, if I could remember, if I could think about it for just long enough to turn another direction out of the parking lot.  But, most days, I don't.  And then I find myself at the intersection with the "road closed" sign.  Why didn't I think about it earlier?  Why can't I change one small, simple habit?

This is one thing I think about while stopped at the "road closed" sign.  Then I turn, and drive down a few blocks, and return home by another way.  Another thing I think about is whether it really does much good to think about it, whether my actual problem is that I drive home without thinking about it.

There are other things I think about, too:  entrenched habits in ministry, in relationships, in life.  If only I could think about them a little bit more, I could change them.  Some of them, at least, could use changing.  I am tempted to believe that it is my thinking that is the problem, that thinking a little harder, or in a different way, that a new insight is the key to my salvation.  But I am not sure that thinking about them, or writing about them in my journal, or even getting an epiphany while I am sitting in my car will help.

Maybe what it really takes is a road closed sign.  Just the road closed sign, where I am forced to take the side roads, go home by an even slightly different route.  Maybe it's the action, not thinking about it. Maybe you don't think.  You just practice turning, turning around, because the road is closed and you have to go in a different direction.

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