For the past couple months, my oldest son has been using my car. This means that most of the time I am trapped at home. My husband will drive me around, but only if I’m going somewhere he wants to be. I’m sure it’s good for our finances that I can’t leave right now, but it’s driving me a little bit crazy. Between the winter weather and having no car, I feel less than sane some days.
There’s a strange upside to this, though. I’m part of a small church. I am in a Bible study, and sometimes my son and I help feed people at a homeless mission. However, if I’m going to participate in any of these events, someone has to come get me.
What’s amazing is what can happen in fifteen minutes. Fifteen minutes in the car can lead to such discussions. Sure, sometimes it’s just catching up. And that has value. I don’t spend time keeping up with people like I should. I am a small talk disaster, so those post-worship minutes on Sunday when everyone connects over coffee–yeah. I’m not connecting. I’m hiding in the corner wondering how a person could Possibly be as bad at small talk as I am.
However, a car is a one-on-one setting. That’s my forte. There’s little eye contact, which somehow makes deep conversation easier. It’s private and intimate, and I’ve had some of the best conversations in cars lately. Sometimes it’s spiritual, like a discussion about gifts and prayer with a deacon in my church. Or a discussion about suicide, loss, and how God can use those in a life with my pastor. How about a discussion about guiding and loving adult children with the pastor’s wife?
Sometimes it’s just fun. Conversations about kids and life with a friend while heading to coffee. Laughter over anything. Joy from a young mom who’s excited for the opportunity to have adult conversation.
Sometimes it’s silence, simply basking in the presence of another soul without the need to speak. How often do we spend moments of silence with people we love, feeling no pressure to speak but taking comfort in not being alone? If rain is hitting the car and it’s easier to stare out the window than engage in conversation–that can be as healing to the soul as anything, and it never happens on Sunday morning.
My husband is in the process of procuring a clunker car that either he or my son can use, so soon I’ll be independent again. I’m excited, because errands are piling up. Nobody will take me to Lowe’s. I need to visit the Post Office. My youngest son has a gift card for yoga classes and hasn’t been able to use it. However, I will miss car time with people from my church, especially people I don’t normally spend time with. Fifteen minutes here or there for conversations, laughter, silence, and the bonds of community. Maybe carpooling can become a new spiritual discipline for a crazy-busy, independent world. Maybe all of us should double up and drag one another to events and spend moments making quiet connections. Once I’m mobile again, I hope to offer rides and turn my own car into a space for spiritual growth and life. For someone who isn’t great at small talk, my times of car blessings have made a world of difference to me.
Finally, I have a giveaway going on right now at my alter-ego website where I hawk my novels. Entering is easy (no signups for anything!), and the prize is a ceramic prayer box. To enter, head over there by clicking HERE. Enter once or daily until March 6.