I glance in the rear view mirror and sigh without changing my trajectory, knowing he and I are about to replay the same scene we do almost every time I drive down this stretch of road--same questions, same unacceptable answers.
Whump whump comes the noise again along with a mild electrifying vibration that sends a buzz through our bodies like an electric toothbrush. "It's just the rumble strips in the center of the road."
"Why are they there?" he asks, as if this is something new.
"They're to warn people when they cross the line and go into the other lane of traffic or off the edge of the road."
Even firmly belted into his car seat, Wyatt still manages to jump in place to show his dismay that his mother can't drive (again).
His voice hits a new octave. "You mean you're not in your lane!? You could be killed! Don't you think you should drive on your side of the road?"
I sigh (again). This is a conversation I won't win. Instead, Emerson picks up on my rising blood pressure and joins in the fray to parrot Wyatt's concern. My foray into the other lane is obviously concrete evidence of a much deeper problem that will require me to take driving lessons, have my license revoked, or give them the wheel.
As usually happens, I try to stay calm as I explain logically until I remember logic means nothing to my three preschoolers and end the discussion with one of those phrases every mother says she'll never use until she becomes a parent--"Because I'm the mommy. That's why."
A year or more ago, the State started adding rumble strips down the centers of every repaved road, whether or not head-on-collisions were a pattern on the highway or not. It's like someone just went out with a grown-up, heated play-dough roller and melted a textured fence in the asphalt.
A safety precaution? Yes. Annoying? Yes, yes.
Here in the country--deep country--some days, I go a few miles before meeting another vehicle. When I can see a mile in either direction, why turn the curve sharply when I can inch that right wheel onto the extra-wide shoulder or the left wheel just across the median and make my path smoother?
This is not erratic behavior. This is a philosophy of life I wrestle with in life in general, especially in my relationship with my heavenly Father.
It all comes down to wanting to reach my destination the easiest way possible.
Don't get me wrong. I love the "new me" me after I've gone through God's refining fire and wouldn't trade these past experiences for what they've made me. God gives the most extreme makeovers you've ever seen. To transport a person from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of light? From rags of sin to the robes of righteousness? From narcissism to servanthood? Indescribable.
And yet, as much as I love the results, I don't like the fire. I don't want to turn the wheel hard where the road curves sharp. Why can't I just reach the same destination by rounding out the curves and making the journey easier on this earthly shell?
What's more, those warning sounds when I hit that textured fence in the road sometimes aren't even warning me of danger since there's none around. They're just there to teach me the pattern of staying within the lines, no matter how curvy the road because it is the road He has set for me to travel versus the one I choose.
In God's economy, there is no cutting corners. It just doesn't work that way. In becoming like Christ, if I seek to make my path smooth, my destination will be the same, but I won't be.
The journey is the destination.
I still chafe at the sound of that monochrome zebra fence snaking in front of my house. That's not likely to change soon. But in my spirit, I'm trying harder to see the process as the goal and stay between the lines.