Friday, February 25, 2011

Because Life Doesn't Come With Odometers

Our family van is in the shop this week and I've been driving our sedan 40-plus miles to work. The car is as old as our marriage: 17 years. My husband works close to home and so he drives the sedan to work and back, logging less than five miles a day.

For years, the gas gauge hasn't worked, but we've adapted by relying on the trip odometer.

We turn it to zero when we fill up and at when it logs about 200 miles we know we need to head to the gas station. Yesterday morning during my commute, I realized the trip odometer had read 124.6 miles all week. I tried to keep my anxiety at bay by assuring myself I would rely on my husband's word he'd filled the tank earlier in the week. I also figured I would track the miles I was driving with the regular odometer.

A half hour later, I noticed the regular odometer wasn't working either. It was stuck at 232,846 miles.

Oh boy, I thought, this can't be good. How do I track how far I've gone?

Perhaps because I'm now working as an English teacher, I realized the broken odometers were metaphors for my life. As my panic rose, I told myself there was a larger point in all this.  I have no clue, really, how far I have traveled and whether my journey is nearly over or much longer. I don't know the hour of my death. And so I need to drive on with faith, with faith in a Creator who has a clear measure of why I'm here and where I'm heading. The time I have isn't mine to control and every breath is a gift.

Tonight, the Vespers hymn includes these words.

My soul, now take your part,
Acclaiming in God above,
And with a well-tuned heart
Sing out the songs of love;
Let all your days
Till life shall end
What e’er he send,