I am from the Motor City. So cars are a big deal here.
Yet it may be one of the most difficult places to learn how to drive. Detroit is a city with lots of freeways, and very large surface roads. So large they are often boulevards, four lanes of traffic going in either direction with some green space in between. Traversing these roads is where the “Michigan Left” originated.
A Michigan Left occurs when you want to go to the left, but you are not permitted because of the traffic pattern. You must make a right before you can make your left. It’s an interesting concept and one that is probably transferable to life, but that thought will have to wait for another day.
What also makes driving in the “D” difficult is the speed. I696 is jokingly referred to as the Autobahn. That’s a reference to a German highway with no federally enforced speed limit. But on any given Detroit freeway you get the impression that the speed limit is more like the Pirate Code, not a law really, merely a suggestion.
Which is fine as long as you don’t mind the occasional police officer giving you a ticket for failing to take the suggestion seriously.
And if you like speed you had better understand this basic physics principle: the faster you go, the longer it takes to stop.
I don’t think we grasp this concept very well.
The faster you go, the longer it takes to stop.
This is also a transferrable concept. A principle that applies to our non driving lives.
Ever work a job that brings you home at what would typically be “sleep time”? You can’t get off work and jump into bed and be asleep. It takes time to unwind. Time to slow down both your mind and your body.
The faster we go, the longer it takes to stop.
And we can go pretty fast.
One of my favorite Christmas songs is by Amy Grant, I need a Silent Night.
December comes, then disappears, faster and faster every year.
Did my own mother keep this pace, or was the world a different place?
Look at us now, rushing around, trying to buy Christmas peace.
I need a silent night, a holy night
To hear an angel voice, through the chaos and the noise.
I need a midnight clear, a little peace right here.
To end this crazy day with a silent night.
I find the essence of this song applies to my life every month, not just December.
I need silence. I need stillness. I need time to reflect, to think, to pray.
The best conversations take place when we are not hurried. Sitting with a close friend over, not a cup, but a pot of tea or coffee. Relaxing in front of a fireplace, nowhere to go. Walking slowly on the beach, no purpose, just strolling along.
I hunger for these kinds of moments. These times of conversation, not just with friends and family, but also with God.
Perhaps you can relate to full days. Crazy days. Does it ever feel like most days are traveled on the Autobahn?
And the faster we go, the longer it takes to slow down.
So how do I create a rhythm that gives me space for silence, stillness. How slow do I have to go?
That is the answer I am searching for.