I was recently stuck in a traffic jam on Interstate 64. You might know the place. It's where a bunch of lanes suddenly merge into two as you travel toward Williamsburg.
I know I am writing a column on spiritual matters, and this is not the place to mock traffic engineers who could have planned an additional lane. But the traffic nightmare is the perfect example of our lives as Americans.
I've had the opportunity to travel to many countries including Russia, Cuba, and Nigeria on missionary and humanitarian grounds. One thing always stands out no matter where I go. While most of the world knows how to stop and relax and soak in life to the fullest, Americans (including myself) tend to race through life without stopping (even for a brief moment) to smell the roses. The happiest people I have ever met were dirt poor but rich in spirit and life.
There is so much to do on the peninsula that we seldom enjoy any of it the way God intended. We schedule out our day and then collapse in bed emptied by the busyness of life.
Now back to that wonderful traffic jam.
The faster and crazier that life gets, the more likely that our spiritual life will suddenly grind to a complete halt. Can we see it coming? Most of the time we can if we know the road ahead of us.
When we get to know God we begin to get glimpses of that roadway. God wants to direct our steps and move us forward toward a greater understanding of Him. It's called the "straight and narrow path."
Hampton Roads is a wonderful area and a perfect cross-section of America. Maybe it's time for us to slow down a bit and drink in life. When I get caught in the congestion I like to look around into the cars beside me. Most people (including myself sometimes) are staring off into the distance annoyed by the loss of time.
What if we were to kick it back a couple of gears and begin to settle down. Everybody rushing around only adds to the congestion. The busier we get the more we are forced to slow down anyway. A very popular Bible verse says to "Be still and know that I am God."
The older I get the faster that time passes (and the less hair I get to comb). At the end of my life, am I going to be excited by all the things that I fit into my schedule? Doubtful. Will I smile at the 12- or 14-hour workdays? Not!
I will fondly remember the look on my son Caleb's face when he hit his first home run. I will smile at holding my daughter's hand as I walk her down the aisle. I will cherish the weekend getaways to the Outer Banks with my bride of 17 years. I'll prize the moments sitting on my back porch staring into the heavens.
It's really hard to know God while racing along the highway of life. Even when He tries to slow us down, we usually stare off into the distance oblivious to the life around us.
Take a few things off of your schedule this week and make time for life. Before we know it, we will all be looking at life in the rear view mirror wondering what happened to all the time. Savor each minute as a gift from God. Live life one moment at a time.