In about a week Lana, Thea, and I will be making the 25+ hour trip back to our home towns. Each day that we get closer I find myself getting more excited, but for things I never would have expected. For instance, as I was driving across town today and sitting in traffic on I-5, I happened to turn my radio over to a country station and one of our old summer songs came on. I was instantly taken back to driving down West Main Street with the windows down and the music up, and then stopping at the Concord gas station to fill up my tank just so I could burn it by cruising around town.
First, it was down the main drag, 8th Street (that’s Mt. Rushmore road to you out of towners). After cruising 8th street, it was back up West Boulevard where all the 18th century houses and their gardens are perfectly pruned. Next, it was up the hill to cruise down Skyline Drive overlooking the town and then back down into downtown to do it all over again.
Next up was the ride up Highway 16, a 25-mile stretch of road where we, of course, stretched the limits of our cars and trucks up into the hills. After the hills, we headed over to Sheridan Lake to drop our boats in the water on hot days for fishing, wake boarding, wake surfing all while showing off, of course! Actually, I promise you I caught a fish on a bare hook there one time. After finishing up at the lake, we’d take the curvy, forested Sheridan Lake Road back to town and back to 8th Street to get to Sonic for a large strawberry lime aid with lite ice and extra strawberries and pineapple added in.
It’s funny the odd things you miss, especially of a town that, while growing up, we swore we would never miss and would never look back on after left for better things. But, clearly we had great things right then and there. Now don’t worry, I’m not going anywhere any time soon! Greater Portland Bible Church is definitely our home and, despite traffic, we love it here. But, it got me thinking, how often do I not see Jesus on the road that I am currently on? How often, after traveling down scenic and beautiful roads with him, enjoying the ride, do I move on to new roads that I expect to offer bigger and better things for me, not realizing that my experience with Jesus and that road has nothing to do with the street I’m on and everything to do with whose in the car with me, Jesus.
It’s easy to get caught up in this busy life going day-to-day and forget to slow down and enjoy time with Jesus. I get distracted by everything (good and bad) that this world has to offer. Thankfully, Jesus knows us well. Sometimes we are no better than the fish we use to catch at Sheridan Lake, eager to bite at the next shiny thing. Yet Jesus knows our tendencies to leave him behind on the roads we travel, but I’m so grateful that he gently reminds me to let him back in the car where we can once again turn up the country music, roll the windows down and drive side-by-side as old friends. I’m sure someday I’ll look back with nostalgia on my time in Portland, sitting in traffic and think, “wow, what a wonderful drive with Jesus.” Because Jesus is there too.