Driving Me Crazy With Your Horn
Bob Weiner was driving his car from Orlando Florida to his home in Gainsville (about a 2 hour drive) in February years ago. It was a cold rainy day unlike what it is supposed to be in Florida. Suddenly he saw a young man dressed in a light jacket and drenched by the rain hitchhiking. His jacket was way too thin to keep him warm. Bob was about to pass him by when he heard the voice of the Lord say “pick him up.” Looking around the nice clean seats of his new car, Bob knew what he had to do. The young man lost his composure as he started on his journey with Bob. After a couple of minutes he told Bob about a conversation he had with God. He had been out in the cold rain for six or seven hours hitchhiking without any success. Finally he called out to God for the first time in his life. “God, if you are there let the next car pick me up because if it doesn’t I’m going to throw myself in front of the second car and end it all. The reason he was crying uncontrollably was that Bob’s car was the next car!
This little story illustrates where our mind should be as we are driving. We should be living in a spirit of love and driving that way too, opened to what God is telling us! When we are living in that kind of loving union there is no room for driving faults we all get into. What is it about driving a car that can cause us all to be perfect? As our perception of being perfect increases the reality of the situation is just the opposite. I have seen the nicest christian people turn from Dr. Jeckyll to Mr. Hyde as soon as they get behind the wheel! All of the sudden attitudes change into “it’s all about me” and anyone getting in the way is the enemy.
My dad believed in getting to his destinations early and I always thought he took it to the extreme. I was never one to want to get somewhere a half an hour early. My method has always been to try to get there on time and not before. I have to admit though that planning to get to places early would solve most of the driving rage I sometimes have felt. I know that when I am running late every little annoyance of slow drivers ahead of me are magnified.
They showed a film when I first took drivers training years ago. I think it was called Mr. Smith’s rules of driving or something like that. Anyway when Mr. Smith would like something someone did or when he saw them he would give as he called it “a friendly toot of the horn.” We laughed at the time thinking he was going way overboard, but wouldn’t it be nice if people used their horn in a friendly way? In fact the very sound of the horn especially when held down is very blunt and rude. It expresses the anger that the driver is feeling to another driver. Is this act necessary? Some might answer that the other driver is doing something wrong and needs to know about it bluntly. I wonder who made us the policemen of the road and who transformed us to perfect beings? I also know that when someone honks at me in those situations it makes me feel upset. Their act raises my blood pressure and hurts me. It might make me feel hate back in return which is not a good thing to spread. All of these years later I think Mr. Smith and dad were on to something!
I read in a book one time about how Japanese driving is completely different to ours in the use of their horns. I read that they use their horn in a positive way! For example if someone walks in front of them they blow their horn to let the person know that they see them. Honk honk, I see you! I have a feeling it isn’t a blaring honk either. Probably just a toot to say I see you, you are safe. They are using their horn out of love where here we use it out of hate. When people blare their horn it usually means “you are an idiot, get off of the road.” I realize that there are exceptions and sometimes it is necessary to use the horn. Still, Mr. Smith’s friendly toot of the horn seems so much nicer than the blare some people think it is necessary to create.
I remember a scene just after my daughter died. We went into a store because life keeps going even after ours had stopped. As we were walking through the store we noticed more than usual the people that had kids. They were being normal with kind words to them or disciplining them in the store. We could only think to ourselves “if they only knew.” It was like we were in a bad dream that we had lost interest in. The same kind of feeling hit a friend of mine who had lost her mother. She had felt so detatched and yet life went on. She needed to go to the store for something and was sure she probably messed up in driving or normal activities because she was so far out of it.
Years ago I was looking to recruit other people into a business I was doing. It was a business in financial services and we were trying to build our own team in the organization. A friend of our family told me about this guy Jim that would be perfect. Jim was a real go getter who was great in business and he was highly reccommended! When I showed up for our appointment it didn’t seem that anyone was home. After a long pause I heard the door slowly open. I could tell that Jim, who opened the door and the person I was supposed to see, had been crying. His eyes were still watery and swollen as if he couldn’t hide what he was feeling. It was a very ackward situation as I was upbeat about my business and yet Jim was so down and in no condition to talk. He left me shaking my head as he quickly said he wasn’t interested and shut the door abruptly. I dismissed the incident as a timing thing and the fact that Jim was obviously going through some issues. Two days later I found out that Jim had killed himself.
I wonder if Jim tried to get out of the house in his state of depression? If he did he probably wouldn’t be driving at his best. Someone would invariably blare their horn at him because they had their own agenda that he interfered with. I’m not saying that it happened because I don’t know. All I’m saying is that we may be spreading hate instead of love when we get behind the wheel. By not being loving we could be shoving a guy like Jim into a deeper depressed state.
Just like in our daily walk our christian life and example does not go on pause when we get behind the wheel. Do onto others and be slow to anger still apply! Love your neighbor and love your enemies are rules to follow whether driving or not!
If I ever designed a car I would have the horn with a friendly sound. It would be impossible to blare it at someone. It would sound more like a pleasant tone that people would notice but wouldn’t feel hated. Saying this I realize that it is the person behind the wheel that controls the horn. Mr. Smith was right in his theory that a friendly toot of the horn works just fine and sends a nice message of love.
Just like what the young hitchhiker was experiencing that Bob picked up years ago, we don’t know what people driving our roads are going through. Maybe someone just found out they had cancer or the car in front of us has someone in it that is contemplating killing themselves. Maybe the person in front of us is like me and lost someone they loved so dearly. Whatever the reason to whatever they are doing, we should treat them with love. We should be slow to anger like the Bible talks about. The other person needs a show of love instead of hate. Perhaps we should pray before driving, not only for a safe trip, but to be a blessing to all that we see!
Like my dad would say “start early and give yourself plenty of time.” They used to have commercials about driving and the slogan “Watch out for the other guy.” This slogan is appropriate in our christian walk too. Not only should we watch out for what unexpected moves they make, but we should also watch out for them as people. Treating them with love will never be the wrong thing to do! Mumbling under our breath about their abnormal driving isn’t being loving. Being patient, slow to anger and quick to forgive is!
Lord, help me to be a blessing to my fellow drivers who may have troubles I don’t know about!