Here it is, my Driveway Confession… I totaled my car in my driveway. TOTALED. In my DRIVEWAY. I don’t even know what to say. I needed to take a pair of shoes I bought for my daughter back to Target, I had the 5 year old in the back seat, I WAS NOT ON MY PHONE (Babe, I promise) and I totaled my car. The gate to the Ranchito had been acting up so I was watching to see if it would open for me as I drove up. It did, and I proceeded to drive out and smash into a Volvo coming very unexpectedly down our not-very-often-traveled street. I was going a grand total of 3 miles an hour. The poor man I hit jumped out of his car and started yelling, “This car is only 2 weeks old.” I had no words. I just put my crumpled car in reverse and backed back inside the gate. When the police showed up, all I could say was, “Would anyone like some coffee or pumpkin cookies?” because, you know, I WAS AT MY HOUSE! The story gets worse, or funnier, depending on if you are you or me, but the final blow came when the insurance company pronounced my pretty red SUV totaled. At 3 miles an hour. In my driveway.
This lovely little experience got me thinking about a few things… I think I’ve totaled my car in the driveway lots of times. I bet you have too. When I am (as infrequent as it may be) driving on a large interstate, or some big city overpass I am fully engaged, very careful, even nervous. You better believe that my hands are on the wheel and my eyes are on the road. Everyone is buckled and rebuckled. But, in my own driveway, pulling out of my little gate on my little road? I am less engaged, less careful, more distracted. Here’s the thing, when I am out in the world- maybe at church or my kids’ school- guess what I am? I am smiling, and clean, and engaged, and witty. When I throw a party and have people over to my house I am gracious, and kind, and servant-hearted. When I am leading a group of women I am prayerful and encouraging and fully open. In my own driveway, in my own home with my little bunch, in my role of mom and wife, not always so much. CRASH!
We certainly let our guards down in our own homes, don’t we? In those relationships that rub on each other every single day we are less shiny and thoughtful. Unfortunately, I am not always as “all there,” servant-hearted, or gracious to the four children I am stewarding as I am to the receptionist at the salon, or my friend at the store. I am often less engaged with my husband as I am with the (hilarious and vital BTW) group texts with my girlfriends. I would never be as annoyed with a request from a friend for help as I am with my kid’s constant wantings. I would never get as sharp tongued with you as I become with the hubs. So here I go, slowly really, 3 miles an hour, totaling my car in my very own driveway. Hopefully I don’t total the relationship… They all still love and need me. I adore them all. But I sure can total our day. I can total a conversation. I can total the entire mood of my home. I can total the opportunity to speak life and pour into those people for the rest of the night. CRASH!
So, here are the two things I want to say about this little Driveway Confession that I hope will be encouraging as you may be looking at a smashed car right now… First, we all do it. Grace upon grace to us all. I see it with my own children as well. They would NEVER speak to their teachers, or grandparents, or even dad the way they sometimes speak to me. We are close. They have no fear of losing this relationship. We are also together. A LOT. So we rub on each other and we forget to give the same respect to those we love the most as we would to someone on the outside. I see it when they play together. With their friends it is all giggles, and “sure you can have a turn,” and “Dude” (you know, depending on the kid), but with each other it can be, ummmmm how should I say it….. less that! I know how much they love and need each other even if they don’t yet. They are not trying to impress each other, they are completely known and safe within these walls. Guards are down. Grace upon grace. My hubby and I do it all the time with each other. Why do we choose Sports Center or Downton rather than choosing to engage in meaningful conversation? (Ok, I mean it is the last season… shed a tear with me for the love of Anna and Bates). How can we fuss all the way to church or a dinner party and step out of the car charming and agreeable? Well, we do it because we know the other isn’t going anywhere and as much as we desire to (and believe me do) live in authentic relationships with those in our circle, no one knows our junk like each other. So, grace upon grace to all of us with bumpers hanging and a taillight out.
But… there will come a time when all of those 3 mile an hour crashes that totaled a night, or a conversation, or the atmosphere in your home will total the whole thing if we are not careful. Eventually our kids will catch on and believe they are not as important as the friend on the phone or the Instagram post. Eventually we won’t be able to find our way to meaningful conversations with our spouses in our beat up jalopies. We may feel safe and secure in our driveways, in our homes, in these daily relationships, but they deserve the protection of some kindness and attention as well. Yes, grace upon grace but let’s pay a little more heed on this well-worn little road.
After the completely mortifying ordeal of that day, with my car broken and undrivable in the garage, my sweet friend came by with a bottle of wine that was called “Help Is Here.”
My sweet hubby had tons of grace and never yelled or berated me for my stupidity, though he really could have. Although no one took me up on the coffee or pumpkin cookies, all the police officers, and even the poor man whose 2 week old Volvo I smashed, ended up being very kind. I now have the exact same model of SUV except in black and newer. That is grace upon grace, y’all.
“Therefore, whenever we have the opportunity, we should do good to everyone- especially to those in the family of faith.” Galatians 6:10