Wednesday, December 1, 2010

How to Stop Hydroplaning

It was a cold, wet day.  I was only a teenager making the long drive home from school.  The rain steadily increased.  The roads blackened.

In an unforseeable flash, a sea of red appeared closer than I expected.  I slammed on the brakes.  Hard.  

Before I knew it, I was water borne, sliding almost gracefully across the asphalt.  My little Toyota had been taken from my hands into another realm.  I was looking the side of the road head on while still moving with traffic.  I could turn my head to the right and see the faces in the car behind me. 

Somehow, instinctively and with white knuckles, I gripped the wheel and turned it in the opposite direction from where I wanted to go.  And with the same ease with which the water lifted my car, it relinquished control back to me.  I was righted as though nothing had happened, returning to my place on the road home.

I know that feeling well, of being carried along in the wrong direction.  For months now, I've been hydroplaning, heading along contentedly looking for a Christmas change in our family.  Reading.  Pondering.  Tossing around ideas.  Enjoying wonderful posts here.  Longing for more than superficial facelifts.  Praying. 

The red lights came suddenly tonight, and I made a sharp turn in the opposite direction.   If what I want most is a real change, then it must come from somewhere, someOne other than me.   I need to practice indirection.
Indirection affirms that spiritual formation does not occur by direct human effort but through a relational process whereby we receive from God the power or ability to do what we cannot do by our own effort.~Richard Foster
Maybe the best way to PRACTICE Christmas is a life of hard returns, to turn toward God and not toward change.   Returning to Him is to change.

I need

A return to that time and place where God and Man walked together in intimate relationship, that time before the first drop of crimson was spilled on Man's behalf

A return to that tiny, obscure place where the birthing blood flowed as the Gift entered this world in our skin

A return to that dusty, darkened hill where His blood poured a path for His enemies, His eneME, to come back to Him

It is in the returning that we receive the gift that our hearts yearn for:  this back-to-Him life.

So, a hard return this season turns me right where I most want to go, on my way Home.

Return to the LORD your God
for He is gracious and compassionate
slow to anger and abounding in love
Joel 2:13

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