The last thing I ever thought I’d do as a writer is pull over to the side of the road and write down an idea, but it happened today.
My commute home was no more extraordinary than any other day. By that I mean that I was listening to the same CD that’s been in the player for weeks, and I was tuning it out in favor of the quite animated conversation that I was having with myself. I’d like to say that it stayed exclusively in my head, but there are no witnesses to call me out for moving my lips.
At any rate, my internal musings were interrupted by a sign I’d never seen before. It said:
Do Not Drive
On Newly Painted Lanes
You know that little Guy-in-Red that resides over my left shoulder? He did a little jig before telling me to drive over a lane to see what happens.
Fear not, gentle reader. I listened to the little Guy-in-White. He was outraged at Guy-in-Red, and shot me a knowing look for having briefly entertained the idea, but I did the right thing and stayed on the straight and narrow.
That’s when I realized that there was this grand metaphor staring at me from the center of the road.
The whole thing about staying between the lines is more than just Kindergarten advice about coloring. It’s also more than just a driving lesson, albeit one that’ll keep you alive. It’s a metaphor for the choices we make in our lives – and the attention that we pay to details on that journey to keep us straight, keep us in the lane, keep us from dangerously going over the parameters of the road into dangerous ground that can hurt us — maybe even kill us.
That road also showed me something significant. A few people did veer too far from the center and crossed the lines. I could tell because the tires were stained by the wet paint and left a fading record of their error until it disappeared back into the road.
A little like the way we err in our lives? Dare I say sin? I will. Sin. We all do it. Sadly, it’s a mark of our humanity. Happily, we can also seek repentance and forgiveness. It’s an amazing grace.