Life can come with a lot of little inconveniences. Especially for a person such as myself who loves routine, order, and expected outcomes. Inconveniences are not welcome here. It’s painful to admit.
One of these inconveniences that seems to bother some folks (although shockingly, not me!) is the turn-around issue. Your home or business is located in just the right spot that a lot of people like to use your drive to turn around. And you don’t like it. For whatever reason. You know who you are. While it’s not something that particularly bothers me, I understand the feeling behind it: This is my drive, don’t use it for your purposes. (For me that reads: This is my schedule, don’t interfere with it for your purposes. So I get it.) I pass by a local business frequently on my mom taxi routes that has a bright yellow sign that reads: “NO turn arounds, PLEASE.” Well, at least they said please, right? But something about this sign, to me, reads, “you’ve made a mistake or had an emergency, but please don’t help yourself, in your time of need, to our driveway.”
This brought to mind a different approach to life that my dear daddy held. We lived in exactly one of these locations where I grew up. Ours was the first driveway on the first road for several miles on a stretch of local highway. We got a lot of turn arounds, among other weird stops (potty breaks, for real though! and people hiding from police, even! These folks did more than just pull in and turn around… They drove all the way down the drive to the outbuildings sometimes!) My dad never seemed too bothered by the turn-arounds (though I’m sure he wasn’t thrilled with the law violators trying to hide out). Oh, he wanted to have a sign made alright. But not a sign that said no turn arounds. No, he wanted a sign that read, “Jesus is Lord.” He figured if he had a chance to catch their attention even for a moment as they pulled in to turn around, he wanted to let them know something important and true.
What a great perspective! How often do I use life’s interruptions and inconveniences as an opportunity to help others find the truth of Jesus? More often I’m embodying the “no turn arounds” attitude, with my feathers all in a dither over the interruption. Your mistake, your emergency, your needs, they’re not welcome in my busy schedule. What if, instead, my response reflected Jesus’ lordship and love? What if interruptions and inconveniences were welcomed as opportunities to love others with the love of Jesus?
As I remember my dad this year, I want to remember that life’s inconveniences can be seen as opportunities to bless others and serve the Lord. I’m sure he didn’t always do this perfectly (I got my type A personality from him), but he was a lover of Jesus and people above all else. One dear friend said of him at his funeral that, as he aged, he mellowed, and instead of becoming more entrenched in his Tom-isms, (as we all can do as we age, entrenching in our stuck ways) he grew to look more and more like Jesus instead. I pray this is true of me as well. As I meet interruptions and inconveniences, I pray that people see Jesus in my responses. If I have to choose between the two signs, I hope my life reflects a sign that says “Jesus is Lord” rather than the ”no turn-arounds” sign. Life is a gift. Which sign will you embody with yours?