I’m not a very good driver. This is mostly because I’m easily distracted. Birds, clouds, interesting people, and burritos are numbers 1-4 on my list of most frequent causes for close calls. I am, however, a really good driving instructor. And since it sounds like I’m tooting my own horn, I better quickly say that it’s mostly because of Jesus.
There’s a good reason to follow Jesus: He will make you a good driving instructor. I don’t know if all followers of Jesus will have the same experience, but here are some reasons a lot of the teenagers in my teen cell have asked me to teach them how to drive:
- I live simply so my things don’t turn me into a thing. If my car gets messed up because someone forgets which was the gas and which was the brake, so be it. I don’t want this to happen, but if it does, my car is not my prized possession. As a follower of Jesus, I am taking him seriously when he says “where your treasure is, there your heart will be also,” so I’m trying not to have any of my possessions be very prized. They are not my treasure. Clare of Assisi famously said, “We become what we love…if you love things you will become a thing.” I am not a thing.
- I live in a mutuality system so I’m not afraid. If said forgetter of basic car functions does in fact ruin my car and I am unable to afford its repair or replacement, my resources extend beyond my own checking and savings account. I am confident that something will work out financially because I have a lot more options than those who do not invest their lives in making their lives not their own. My life is bound together with many others who have committed to mutuality as a way of life. If disaster strikes, I know I am not alone.
- I have the peace of Christ so I’m pretty chill. Loving a teenager I don’t know that well really, and trusting her with my own life requires some inner fortitude. This attribute is particularly greater than just me because though I am capable of white-knuckled anxiety, it is not one of my common traits and I consider this natural trusting a gift from the Holy Spirit. I think it’s more than my psychology, though not separate from it. I think it’s more than being easy-going or carefree; it’s a gift I was given to use. Check out your gifts on thewayofjesus.circleofhope.net.
- I will be resurrected from the dead so… enough said. I really believe this. I believe that my driving student/disciple will be resurrected too. So, worst-case scenario, we both die but it’s not the end. When I was a chaplain on the oncology floor I learned that the Resurrection had to be close to my conscious thoughts, working it’s way into my logic for everything, because the alternative was to let death win. Death was all around and I had to keep caring. It was a good lesson that I am glad I learned at a relatively young age. I bring it with me in the shotgun seat now.
This summer, my teen cell, which is made up of students from Collingswood High, Camden High, Audubon High and Pennsauken Tech, has met less frequently because of everyone’s summer job schedules. I have kept in touch with many of them through regular driving lessons that double as discipleship sessions. We talk about serious stuff because I’m one of the people in their lives that they know they can ask about anything, but I believe that a lot of my discipleship is how I love them as they learn to operate an automobile. I bring Jesus with me in that task and they feel it. I hope they will internalize that love and let it guide them as adults to bring the big stuff of their faith into the everyday stuff of their lives.