back roads and mini-van lemming think

Someone else likes backroads, too.

I like to take back roads. This may seem unlikely for a person as impatient as I, but something about an unexplored road beckons me. I prefer the road less traveled by. Even when it has stop signs.

In the case of one road I travel, make that multiple stop signs. When I have the misfortune of traveling it between 2:30 and 3:30 (otherwise known as all-heck-breaks-loose because-children-are-being-unleashed-on-the-unsuspecting-world time), it’s slow. R-e-a-l-l-y slow.

Funny story here. There is a parallel road to this one with almost no traffic. But no one takes it. Not even I, who know it’s there and know it goes to the same place with much less hassle, remember to make a simple left turn and use it. It’s a two-block detour, and there we all sit, like mini-van lemmings, in the slow line of cars at multiple stop signs. Why?

I don’t have an answer for this. Other than it’s easier to mindlessly follow the lemmings than to turn left and take an alternative route to the same place. To turn left, I’d have to be conscious. Which is always a good thing to be when driving. Nevertheless, many of us are not conscious. While driving or while living  .

What if we turned left away from the lemmings in life, too? Took a different road. What if we determined to live some alternatives?

To choose to forgive the unforgivable when no one else does that.

It’s your right to hold a grudge. Staying angry makes you strong.”
Lemming words. Don’t follow them. 

No, that is not our jeep. Rental. Which was
good, because some of those backroads
had lakes in the middle of them.

Try instead the road that says “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you” (Ephesians 4.32). And in case we need a primer, “as God in Christ forgave you” covers it all.

To willingly say “I don’t know that answer” 
when someone challenges you.

Lemmings fear the the not knowing. They bluster and fall back on repeating the same things without examining their words. Don’t follow that road.

Follow the sign that reads, “The truth will set you free” (John 8.32). Free when we admit straight up we don’t have all the answers. And we’ll work on finding them out.

To refuse the lure of calling names and creating generalizations 
instead of listening to people who don’t think like we do.

Instead, consider the road that’s marked “Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger” (James 1.19). Way too few folks are on that road. It’s wide open.

To live like service is more important than success. 

Not believe it or teach it. Live like it. Like we knowIf you cling to your life, you will lose it; but if you give up your life for me, you will find it” (Matthew 10.39) rather than only vaguely suspect it. That’s a signpost people will notice.

To stop controlling every moment of every day and every person in it. 

To admit—no, to embrace, the reality that we were never in control. To absolutely glory in not having the keep everything in place and spinning. Because we feel the truth deeply–”Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you” (1 Peter 5.7). That highway is peacefully devoid of all jams.

To allow someone else credit when we deserve it. Cheerfully. Not because we have no choice.

To give mercy when we could extract vengeance.

There are so many more alternative routes.

The route everyone is on is really, really much more difficult. And slower. Full of uncalculated stops. Once we turn off the main road, we know the freedom of the uncrowded, unblocked passage. We can get through this thing called life easier. 

Oh, but look where those roads can take us.

But it takes consciousness. We can’t do it on autopilot. The other road has always been beside us. We just have to make the decision to turn onto it.