Apologies for such a stretch of time since my last blog entry, but the well ran dry for a bit, Tony Reinke, words it beautifully “Bloggers should expect the well to run dry at times, and understand the personal factors that explain this barrenness…”
Chronicles of a Car-less Woman
The events of my self-imposed driving moratorium began with an oil leak, a slow but constant drip accompanied by an odor of charred lubricant with an occasional billow of smoke rising from the hood of my mini-van.
The repairs could take days. As I sorted out my schedule over the next week, I realized the intricacies of functioning with one car and balancing the schedules of four children, household errands, church life, homeschool life…
The birth of my epiphany moment arrived while watching the vintage TV show, “The Donna Reed Show.” If women of the 50’s and early 60’s could not only survive but thrive as a one car household, certainly I could at least experiment as a one car household for a designated time.
A month- that was the decided time limit. A car-less woman for a month.
“Don’t repair the car just yet, park it in the barn as a disabled vehicle, so I am not tempted to cave,” as the words spew from my lips, I seal the deal with my husband.
I broke the news of my experiment to the kids and they weren’t really surprised because I often banter about doing counter culture things but this was a reality not just more “mom chatter.” Gulp.
Being car-less, living on a farm in a rural area of Maryland’s Eastern Shore where the only notion of mass transportation is hijacking a ride on your neighbor’s John Deere as he passes your lane, was not going to be easy.
Week 1– took some getting used to, like starting a diet program where the first week you feel like you’re starving yourself to death. My 18 year old does own a car, so I bummed a few rides from her so I could fulfill pre-carless commitments.
Week 2 – Got into the car-less groove. Suddenly, there is no hurry to get anywhere. With the hurried, frenzied, on the go lifestyle severed, life flowed— no longer at an adrenaline pumped speed, but calm. I had time to listen and watch the birds as I hung clothes on the line. My normal routine is to race to the clothes line, hang, and sprint to the next task (which usually required my car) rather than linger and absorb the beauty of my surroundings.
By now, I’ve consolidated most of our errands and social gatherings into one day using my husband’s car. On those days, he either catches a ride with a co-worker or I take him to work.
Week 3 – I find myself really enjoying chores that before seemed stress-filled. I take my time working with the livestock rather than rush through the chore. Cooking takes on a whole new perspective now that I have the time to unveil new recipes from a book to my table.
Week 4 – Reluctance to return to the two car life again sets in, knowing that I’ve made it to the end of the month, car-less, and I’ve become accustomed to this new way of life. And I like it.
I think about what Elisabeth Elliot says in Secure in the Everlasting Arms:
“One reason we are so harried and hurried is that we make yesterday and tomorrow our business, when all that legitimately concerns us is today. If we really have too much to do, there are some items on the agenda which God did not put there. Let us submit the list to Him and ask Him to indicate which items we must delete. There is always time to do the will of God. If we are too busy to do that, we are too busy.”
At the end of the month, my car back in the driveway- repaired, adjustments made. My month of car-lessness showed me how careless I am with my time. So what do I do differently to prevent myself from falling into that disabling fast track?
1. Submit my day, my agenda to God (Pray, then delete items if necessary)
2. Make my day have eternal value, kingdom building value (eternal work is a gift, a privilege, not a chore to squeeze into the day)
3. Build relationships rather than accomplishments (person to person /face time rather than Facebook; allow gentle conversations to trump the “To-do list”, enjoy true, genuine fellowship)
4. Linger and ponder on at least one bit of beauty created by the Creator (today it was watching a Ruby-throated hummingbird at our feeder, watching my daughter listen with amazement as we read Trumpet of the Swan)