Back to the memory. Always continual traffic on Cary Street Road and usually at least one car lined up behind me on Libbie, the challenge was to go from stop to start at the exact moment there was a gap in the traffic pattern on Cary. Even if there had been a traffic light at that intersection (even today there is none), the challenge was accelerated if there was a car behind me on Libbie. Because I had to time the move forward without causing an accident by drifting back into the car behind me. And when there was a whole line of cars idling close to each other behind me? Well, you can imagine the potential drama! I shiver and sweat even now remembering such a moment.
Much of my life moved on from those teenage years of shifting “growing up” gears into more “automatic” and fluid foot/pedal/hand/gearshift/braking/accelerating/mental coordination motions of shifting as I have traveled life’s high-ways and low-ways. Over time, practice (and life has certainly blessed or cursed me with lots of both) gives us the opportunity to try and master good gear shifting motions. However, there have been major “intersections” in this journey we call life for me as I “adulted” and “aged” that remind me of those early years and the stressful and sometimes crisis nature of shifting gears.
What has brought to my mind this long ago (60+ years) memory? The times we are in. Who was it that composed that ‘60’s classic “The Times They are a Changing”? Gears remind us that timing is at the center of changing, of shifting motion.
I believe we are now at a major intersection as we try and map out the journey forward. Longing to go back “uphill” in our day to day, week by week, month by mouth ahead life as we emerge out of what is being considered one of the most challenging times in our lifetime. Isn’t the idea of “gear shifting” an appropriate metaphor to consider at this time of transition? And, perhaps helpful?
The most essential elements for successful gear shifting include coordination, good timing, watching for just the right “openings” that lead to a smooth transition. If you can think of more successful strategies, please share them.
As individuals, families, churches and in all spheres of life together through which we are traveling today, the landscapes have changed, the ways and means forward are changing, the dangers and opportunities on the road ahead are uncertain. This being our reality, it is essential and elemental that we give this transition our best efforts. That we coordinate all that we have, watch for the best openings, bring together in forward motion all our working parts, and move into the spaces waiting for us on the road ahead with intention, with hope, and with all the trust we can muster. We can do this, we must, a lot depends on it.
What do I finally remember about that long-ago experience at the intersection of Libbie and Cary? That moment when my father’s voice spoke, saying, “Now! You can do it! Go!” And I took a very deep breath and did.
Lest we forget. Onward. By Grace. We travel.