As I was driving along, they were all laughing in the back seat with these "shot-gun" giggles that only a little girl can produce. These gut laughs come from such a deep place of innocence, a life unencumbered with the mounting pressures of adulthood.
As an adult, I was sitting in the driver's seat jealously listening to their mirth. My chest was tight with the deadlines and the bottom lines and the front lines of ministry. I was churning with the weight of the world. They were back there living in the moment as if yesterday and tomorrow didn't even exist.
The purity of passion that spills out of them washes me like a shower on some days. They were making up funny voices and watching each other make funny faces. They would go back and forth performing their impromptu comedic acts. And with each melodrama, they would "bust a gut" in laughter that would fill my car with "Monster's Inc"-like electricity. Every giggle was worth 10 screams. The power was intoxicating.
I hate being in the drivers seat on some days. Hands clinched to the steering wheel guided by lines and lights, signs and streets. Looking in mirrors to see what's behind me and out windshields to see what's in front of me. I'm in the same car, but my mind isn't in the car...it's behind and ahead, but not in.
I have to think about getting somewhere. They are thinking about being here.
Their laughter and girlish games filled that car with life. The back seat was the place to be. I was in the front seat, the driver's seat, wishing for the back seat again. A time and place where life was simple and pure and true. A time when the only exhaustion you felt at bedtime was caused by hours of incessant laughter and endless playing.
I am forgetting how to play. For all that I'm learning, I'm forgetting essential ingredients of life along the way.
I'm gaining truth and losing meaning.
Lord, I want to get in the back seat again. You take the driver's seat, Lord. I want to sit behind you and laugh under your leadership.
(I just resisted writing the worn out phrase, "Jesus, take the wheel.")