After a whole day spent in the car with my husband, my eyes were really opened. Now, not that being in a car with my husband is that abnormal. In fact, recently we did a 4000km trip in the car as a family. He rarely has any issues with others on the road and likes a good car journey. But what I witnessed today was a bit different to anything I've seen him partake in before.
On this particular day he was rather vocal about everyone else's behaviour on the road. I generally find myself, without realising it, taking the role of commentator whilst we are driving... I like to inform when cars ahead are braking, when cars might be merging, when a car might be drifting or when a car might simply be driving in front of us. All these are very important facts to inform a driver about and when accompanied with a grab of the dash board, a little squeal or stamping of the foot on the non-existent brake, I really take my role seriously.
So here we are driving down the main arterial in Melbourne and for once I am quite calm, enjoying the journey and hardly noticing the traffic around us. In front of us a car is swerving near the line repeatedly. My husband is perplexed about this display and proceeds to discuss the actions of the driver for the few kilometres.
Further down the road a truck is going dangerously slow in the right hand lane. So of course we give him a nice little beep as we overtake on the left. A bit later on a car has a seat belt hanging out the door and is dragging on the road near the wheel, so now I get the job of yelling out the window to let her know.
As we park the car and disembark the vehicle we see a nearby car parked across two spaces. He writes a note and puts it under their windscreen, suggesting perhaps a better style of parking. And we still had to take the trip back home...
I am simply not used to such involvement from him on the roads. I was in disbelief the further we went along. Normally he drives along enjoying the tunes, Shazamming everything possible on the radio and chatting about life (in between my outbursts). But this day he really stepped things up. It may have been a good thing. It may not have been. But either way it got me thinking.
We sit on the highway, cruising along, sipping coffee, cranking some tunes and enjoying the road before us. Cars come and go, not really affecting our drive in any way. It's a nice time. Then someone speaks up, someone beeps, someone leaves a note. The cruisy road gets a few bumps in it. That's not so bad is it?
In our lives I'm often the one to opt out of speaking up or beeping a horn. I'm not the one to stand up and challenge. I'm not the one to leave a note to help someone on their way or call out when I see a friend a slipping up. In Psalm chapter 37, verse 34 it says, "the mouth of the righteous man utters wisdom, and his tongue speaks what is just."
Perhaps I play it safe. Perhaps I've been conditioned to keep my thoughts to myself (except when I'm backseat driving!).Perhaps I prefer to cruise along and try to be unaffected by issues around me. Surely life is less complicated this way. But perhaps, sometimes, I do need to need to open my mouth and speak. It doesn't mean I shouldn't listen or watch. But speaking up is important too.
In Proverbs chapter 31, verses 8 and 9 the Bible says, "Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy." God will show me when I need to speak up and when I need to be quiet. I just need to obey Him and follow. He will show the way.
Laura Veloso is wife to John and the mother of 3 young boys. She is trained in child welfare and primary school teaching and has experience in overseas missions and youth leadership.
Laura Veloso's archive of articles may be viewed atwww.pressserviceinternational.org/laura-veloso.html