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Sola Scriptura · Solus Christus · Sola Gratia
Sola Fide · Soli Deo Gloria

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Road Warrior

We’ve all heard the term ‘road warrior’. There was a time when I thought the term was a trite expression meant to make the daily commute more interesting. Since I have been driving these roads for three years now, daily commuting nearly an hour each direction, having spent nearly 1000 hours on this path, my sentiment has changed. Not only do I now deem this phrase valid, but I now count myself among those it describes. I admit it, I am a road warrior. I deftly dance among the hordes, fighting for rank, esteeming efficiency, daily muscling my way through the masses with staunch conviction. Yes, it sounds like a wonderful life, I know. So, what is the problem with being a road warrior? The rest of these people have no idea they’re in a battle!

Now I know what some of you are thinking. “Here is one of those jerks who is always weaving in an out of traffic, the guy who just wants to go faster than everyone else.” It’s not that I want to go faster than everyone else… just faster than these people! Everyone has a measure of ability, a certain prowess. This extends to every aspect of life. In this context, each car and driver combination has a certain comfortable speed, the velocity at which the vehicle runs optimally regarding fuel efficiency, drag, lift, noise and vibration, and at which the driver feels safe. For me, on a major highway, that speed is 85 mph. When I drove my ’85 Dodge Diplomat anything over 70 was a nightmare. By the virtue of who I was (an ’85 Dodge Diplomat) my top speed was predetermined. Each driver knows where he stacks up against the competition and should fall in line with that hierarchy.

There are certain unwritten rules of the road of which everyone is aware. Last night while driving home from class I ran up behind a twenty-something-year-old truck that was running the speed limit in the fast lane while three lanes to his right remained open. Knowing the rules of the road, and having no place to be in a hurry, I refused to go around him, and instead settled in at an uncomfortable distance to maximize the coverage of his mirror with my headlights and minimize the distance between my bumper and his. Even as other vehicles streamed around me I refused to join them lest this man feel justified in his violation. His agitation was clear as he occasionally swerved and unconsciously blocked the mirror with his arm, yet I did not budge, nor did he. Knowing the rules of the road, on some level this man knew to get over. People were streaming around him as a river around a ruined ship run aground; pressure was applied by the force of the river behind him; yet he did not move. Pride can keep us from moving when we face judgment. Pride is the root of all wrong-doing. After ten miles of relentless pursuit he finally put his blinker on. He was not finally moved by my constant pressure, or by recognizing the steady stream of people he was forcing to pass him on the right, or by the innate knowledge of his proper place in the road hierarchy, but instead by his approaching exit. I am convinced that this man had no idea he was in the wrong, that he was breaking the ‘rules’, and that judgment had come.

Though everyone knows these unspoken rules, and everyone knows on some level they have broken them, judgment by itself does little to help them see the error of their ways. What this man needed was a little nudge, someone to reach down and physically move him to the next lane. He could not do it himself. He was, by his pride or ignorance alike, wholly unable to respond and make the situation right. Let the battle cry resound, “Sola Gratia!”


Blogger Rachel said...

Nice post. I have been waiting to read your next post. Glad it finally came.

2/13/2007 2:23 PM  
Blogger Tommy said...

Hey Mike... that's called Road Rage!!


3/11/2007 5:28 PM  
Anonymous Brad said...

that you have road rage holding hands with spiritual faith is ... interesting.

I too fall victim to "road warrior"ing. Usually it is at its peak during rush-hour traffic. I use the rationality that you stated, until i realized how flawed it is. I believe some people are truly ignorant of road courtesy -- I still get mad at them. But i shouldn't. I'm trying not to.

If Jesus was walking on a path, and a woman was carrying a heavy load, taking up the entire path, walking very slowly; Do you think he would walk as fast as he could directly behind her, while screaming at her in his mind "MOVE OVER"?

We are choosing to make long commutes. We are chosing, by our pride or ignorance alike, to make the road more dangerous than it needs to be. As much as we would like to let the road be a battlefield, it is not.


3/12/2007 10:00 PM  
Blogger Mike said...

When Tommy commented before, I figured he was just being a comic and critic, but two people commenting with the same sentiment required me to review my post. I see now that the tone of the post leaves a clear impression of what can only be described as 'road rage.' I apologize for that. I think I left a few important details out. When I came across this fellow, it was not pride or anger that motivated me to act. I put on some very soothing classical music that echoed my somber mood and sought to convey to him a message. Yes, on the surface I admit that doesn't sound any better, so let me explain. On the road a driver has limited modes of communications with his fellow drivers. My actions were meant to convey a message in the only language available to me. Believe it or not, it was my intent to teach him (not 'teach him a lesson'). I wanted to remind him or teach him that there are rules on the road and that it is common courtesy to observe them. Never once was there an angry thought or harsh word in my mind toward this man, simply my desire to convey a message that he was breaking the rules. I admit that this borders on textbook sociopath behavior, but I offer my assurance, for whatever it is worth, that my actions were entirely restorative, not punitive. The story was meant as an allegory to rules and judgmental actions having little effect on those who are oblivious to the problem in the first place.

>If Jesus was walking on a path, and a woman was carrying a heavy load, taking up the entire path, walking very slowly; Do you think he would walk as fast as he could directly behind her, while screaming at her in his mind "MOVE OVER"?

As true a statement as your's is, it does not fairly describe the situation. I would liken it to Jesus coming upon a person who's path, while seeminingly harmess, was causing both he and others to stumble. Jesus would take the time to convey his message, yet without the grace of God, the hearer would be completely unable to respond. Obviously the allegory is flawed for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that I was speeding, but the story still demonstrates some measure of truth. It is also a good reminder not to get deep theology from parables.

3/17/2007 5:03 PM  

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