Posted by: Kara Luker | October 1, 2011

A crash course in peace

I am a bad driver. I realized this recently while telling a coworker about the clusters of accidents I get into when there is too much going on in my world. Nothing horrific, really… just the kissing of curbs, signs, or the fender of someone else’s car. The motorcyclist I backed into didn’t even fall over. The last person I rear-ended didn’t even get my number. Minor stuff, you know?

While I haven’t technically harmed anyone, I’ve begun to worry about the potential. So, when researching driving schools for Cole, I considered signing myself up. In the midst of this process, God shot a question at me: “Is it a matter or skill or choice?” Hmmmm. An intriguing question… and one I didn’t need to ponder long.

While it might be easier to blame these happenings on some deterioration of my driving skills (assuming I had any in the first place), they are far more likely connected to my habits. Really, really bad ones. Like driving with my knee while eating breakfast, managing email or texts on the road, or finding the right playlist on my iphone while zooming down the freeway at 70 – okay, 80 – miles per hour. Yes, I represent everything you hate in a driver. I hang my head in shame.

But the question of choice pressed into something true and I wanted what it offered. The following day, I ate breakfast before leaving for work. I put my phone in my purse on the backseat where I couldn’t reach it. I dropped Cole off at school and merged onto the first of three freeways that take me to my Irvine workplace, sitting in perfect silence with my hands on the wheel and my eyes on the road. Not only did I notice the placement of each car on the road, but the quality of light in the sky as it filtered through the morning clouds. There was nothing rushed within me which was proven by the unusually low number on my speedometer. The experience felt almost holy. I arrived at work with an uncommon stillness.

I have spent a few days now driving well and find that it is becoming one of my favorite elements of the day. It is as if something comes together in that very present space that is missing elsewhere. I have begun to wonder how many times in a day or week I bump into people, causing damage – minor or otherwise, in the midst of the chaos that is sometimes my existence. And I wonder how many good and holy moments I miss out on in the process. It could be that there really are too many things going on in my life to do it well. Or it could be a matter of choice. I’ll work it out and let you know.


  1. what a perfect analogy for how we (can) walk thru life

    • Definitely eye opening for me! I am convinced that I am becoming far more aware in many ways. The pedestrian I nearly backed into last night was decidedly at fault… walking across an unlit parking lot wearing no reflective gear whatsoever.

  2. Last month, while exiting the freeway, I got an email about a job opportunity and I took a brief momentito to read it. I hit a minivan in front of me. It was her fault – she stopped too fast for me to glance down at my phone and back up again. Isn’t it common courtesy to slow down slowly, just in case the person behind you is currently looking for a job and needs to check their email while taking a sharp right turn on an off-ramp? Somehow the insurance company found me at fault, even though I barely glanced at the email. She’s the one driving a minivan, for pete’s sake.

    • Well put Ken. Isn’t this why we have “no fault insurance”? Why should we be seeking someone to take responsibility? We pay the monthly “dues” so no one ever has to say “I made a mistake”. Makes perfect sense…

    • What can I say but that it is a broken system when insurance companies and minivan drivers cannot recognize and accommodate the priorities of each momentito. I grieve with you Ken over the injustice.

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