The View from the Backseat–Repost

It’s a crazy day. Tomorrow we’ll host a Fall Festival for 500+ folks at the children’s home where I work. Let’s just say my creative juices are being engaged elsewhere. So here’s a repost from a little over a year ago. Somehow, it appealed to me today!

“Shotgun!”

That’s how the kids call dibs on the front seat. When I was a youngster I loved sitting in the front seat next to Mom or Dad, enjoying the view and having access to the radio. But not anymore.

On those occasions when I’m traveling with a group of people and we all pile into one car, I’m spending my time figuring out how to get in the backseat. The best way is to follow the driver. She’s much less likely to say, “No, you sit up front.” And that’s what we always say. As if the front, passenger seat is the best and we’re being generous. It’s a ruse.

All adults know the backseat is the place to be. You don’t have to engage in conversation there. You can just sit back, relax, and enjoy the scenery. No pressure, no demands, just the peace of telephone poles clicking by.

The backseat is an escape from the demands of life. You don’t have to drive or give the driver advice. No one expects you to find a “good” radio station or know where to turn and the heating and cooling are out of your hands. In some states, you aren’t even legally required to wear a seat belt.

I LOVE the backseat.

So why is that I’m not content to sit in the backseat of my own life? Oh, I let God drive, but I sit in the passenger seat stomping my imaginary brake, pushing my imaginary gas pedal, and looking for that magic talk-radio station that will tell me ALL the secrets. I know where we should turn and I see no problem with exceeding the speed limit just a little. My driver could learn a lot from me.

And then I remember being a kid in the backseat of the car. Mom and dad are in the front and we’re coming home late. I’m propped in the corner, coat drapped over top of me. I’ve been sleeping, but I awaken when we reach the rough, dirt road leading to our farm. Still drowsy, I see the faint glow of the headlights on the trees. Above is a vast, limitless sky filled with stars. It’s quiet. My brothers still sleep and mom and dad, if they talk at all, murmur softly. I’m warm, I’m safe and soon I’ll be home.

Now help me understand. Why do I EVER try to take the wheel?

4 thoughts on “The View from the Backseat–Repost

  1. Mom

    Love the analogy and message.
    Sometimes one chooses the front seat because they suffer from a tendancy toward carsickness… and that is also the reason you got more than your share of being in the front seat. 😉
    Put me in mind of that song “Jesus Take The Wheel.”
    Also the bumper sticker: If God is your co-pilot, switch seats!

  2. Pat Maruca

    I truly feel one of my worst ‘character traits’ is that I’m such a control freak in my own personal life. Some of my most important memories have been sitting next to the driver while on trips or tours (Africa, Naples, Lancaster, etc., so I could chat with the driver more personally. Like your Mom, I like to ask lots of questions. But I felt warm fuzzies reading what you have said about the comfort of the back seat. These are my chilhood memories, too.
    Aunt Pat

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