Thursday, September 2, 2010

For Whom The Car Honks

It happens every morning. Monday through Friday, it's more regular than my mail delivery. See, those of you who live in the peaceful, bucolic serenity of the country will have no way of identifying with me. Well... maybe you will. Maybe there's some cow who moos too loudly or some chipper little bird who won't stop tapping on your window pane. Over here in suburbia, we have car horns...and impatient soccer moms...and schedules...schedules that have to be kept with military precision, lest one of those balls we've been precariously juggling should fall to the ground and disrupt the flow of the entire day. Impatience at 8:12...every...single...morning. I haven't even had my coffee yet (or my first Diet Pepsi) and here she swerves around the corner, in her raised up 4X4, blaring on the car horn for all it's worth.

"Hey there sister! I've felt your pain. I know exactly where you're coming from. You were late before you even woke up and your tween is in the back seat anxious to get the carpool picked up and make it to school on time. Is there any chance, though, that your child might take the opportunity to stretch his legs and employ the door bell once in awhile?"

When I used to keep that same schedule, I was never home to hear that horn. I was busy being She-Ra, Princess of Power. No hair uncombed. No shoe untied. No homework left behind. Watch out! Here I come... Supermom!! It was only when we started homeschooling that I realized what I would have considered efficiency in the past, was now a huge annoyance. Every morning, without fail, the Jeep would honk. And honk. And occasionally, honk again. I would forget it was coming, and be startled when it did. I would remember it was coming, and would wonder if the kid in the car had an allergy to doorbells. Then one day, as the horn blared a third time and I watched my lanky neighbor trudge to the car, I borrowed a line from John Donne and thought, "Ask not for whom the car honks, John Kelley. It honks for thee."

Do you ever have "AHA!" moments? I do, on occasion. I'll hear something, or see something, and suddenly it's as if a light bulb has illuminated the dark. Suddenly, I see what I saw before, but somehow, it's all different. Well, that day at my kitchen sink, I had a revelation. What if, instead of being irritated by the reminder of someone else's hectic schedule, I took that moment to remind myself to be thankful? Not thankful that it's her and not me. Just plainly, thankful.

Some days it's still blissfully quiet at my home. My three sweet babes are still tucked under those covers and the car honks. On those days, I'm free to spend uninterrupted quiet time, thanking the Lord for His divine blessings in my life. Some days we're up and at 'em, finishing our breakfast, getting ready for school, and the car honks. On those days, I remember to be thankful for these moments of togetherness. They're fleeting and so precious. Some days I'm slogging through an inch of water on the bathroom floor because my son decided to "make an ocean" during his shower and, oh by the way. "MOMMY, THERE'S SOMEONE AT THE DOOR!" (and WHY IS THAT CAR HONKING?!?!). On those days, I'm thankful for the drive-thru Starbuck's, the gift card my mom gave me for "emergencies", and the fact that I have three children when I wondered for years if I would have any at all.

Is there something in your life that's been annoying you? I guess I could have just asked, "Are you a human?" :) What if, right in this moment, you purposed to turn that irritation into a moment for celebration? It may seem cliche, but the things that drive you crazy, may be the things that others desire so much for their own lives. Maybe John Kelley's mom doesn't want to push him out the door when the car honks. Maybe she wishes she didn't have to carpool and could spend uninterrupted quality time, driving him to school, and talking about the things that make him anxious, or proud, or sincerely happy. Then again, maybe she just wants a shower and a child who can get out the door on time! Ha! I've been there, too! :)

This is real life... busy, full, overflowing life. Whether it bubbles effervescently or floods tragically, the choice is really in the way you see it. I pray that my "AHA!" moment leads you to one of your own. Tomorrow, when the car honks, I'll be thankful for the people who may read this and the powerful ways their days may be changed by something as simple as positive thinking.

Blessings, Lins


  1. Ok, I love reading this... not only because I agree and understand what you're talking about, not only because I know you and love you, but because I am totally jealous that you are such a terrific writer! You took a simple moment and made it beautiful. Thanks for that. Hugs friend!
    Love, Becky

  2. This is a wonderful post. I enjoyed reading every minute and saw myself in it. I LOVE my neighborhood. I love that the kids meet on the hill for sledding every time it snows. I love that my girls can run back and forth to their friend's houses. I love that I can yell across the street for an egg if I am on short for the brownies I already started! But you are very right that living in a neighborhood has drawbacks as well. I am always aware of our noise level since our next door neighbors like peace and quiet and strive to live a zen-like life. Ha! There is no "zen" in my house right now! The next time I get annoyed with dogs barking, or our very own Mom-driving white tahoe careening though stop signs on her way to drop off a carload of kids, I will be thankful we no longer are standing at the crossways knowing with certainty we would never step one toe over the edge until she has barrelled through. This is our first ever not-back-to-school week and I love it.

  3. Oh, I LOVE this Lins!! You are a great writer!! I was captivated!! Thank you for the gentley {and funny} reminder to be thankful for this simpler lifestyle. It does go so fast!

    Your post reminds me of a friend who said she cried when her house was spotless but she couldn't get pregnant ... now with a toddler, she cries because her house is a mess!! ;)

    Thanks for your sweet comments ... I always thoroughly enjoy my time visiting YOU!!! Your fun personality shines through ... you are a blessing!!