As the Olympics in Sochi open, I’m thinking they should add “dodging potholes” as a new competition.
They could throw it in with the skiing events, because it is very much like a slalom. The town can host the downhill and the 100 series highways the Super G.
Our town streets, county roads and even our major highways have become obstacle courses this winter with entire patches of holes, like harvested turnip fields, that challenge the best of drivers.
In my travels, Truro takes the crown for potholes this year. In fact, I drove into a pothole so big that I was grateful to be carrying a peanut butter and lettuce sandwich to tide me over until the search and rescue team arrived.
Don’t know if it’s the early winter, the extra cold, or just the untimely deterioration of our municipal infrastructure, but we are only half way through pothole season. The worst is yet to come.
Of course, this is not new, it just seems worse this year. Collision shops and alignment specialists love it. Insurance companies cringe and politicians hide until spring. There is no easy answer for potholes.
We can take a great lesson from all this. Travelling through life will always have potholes. We can be cruising along, whistling a happy tune: then bang, you nose dive to one side perhaps losing control for just a split second. During that time, you are challenged to make the appropriate correction or you are calling the tow truck of life.
Of course, it would be far more preferable to slow down and anticipate the minefield of traps, using our experience to guide us through. But we don’t. We don’t slow down and we don’t use our experience. We just cruise along the roadway of life assuming all is well and that it always will be.
It is that false sense of security that is our true enemy. That sense of comfort that deludes us into thinking that we have everything under control; that nothing can impede us; and even the potholes of life cannot stop us.
But they do, if not today, then tomorrow. Nobody is exempt. In fact, I would like to have a nickel for every time someone told me, “Things were going just great and then, bang.”
Let’s be clear here, I’m not talking about potholes in the road. I’m talking about the obstacles in life, the ups and downs, the trials and tribulations. Anybody who thinks they are immune are simply deceiving themselves.
I’m sorry to say that anybody who thinks life will just glide along on cruise is in for a rude awakening.
Each of us will face challenges. Each of us will be tripped up along the way. It may be a sudden illness or an accident that changes your ability to face the day. It may be losing a job because of downsizing or closure. It might even be your own fault for which you are fired. It might be the death of a loved one, or your own impending demise.
Some say life is hard and others say life is not fair. But who promised you an easy life and who said it would be fair.
The sad truth is that life is not easy and often looks very unfair. Complaining about it will accomplish nothing.
There is a source of comfort in all of this. Banding together, leaning on each other in our times of need can truly soften the blows of life. I’m not talking about safety in numbers, nor about misery loves company. I’m talking about gathering as a giant support group, taking turns providing for each others needs and celebrating our small victories.
This is what we call church, the gathering where people do life together.
Whether you like it or not, we are all in this together. We are on that march through life, the parade that has a beginning and an end. You can choose to walk alone but that just means you will arrive at the same destination as the rest of us, but without the company along the way.
Those who get this are pleased to gather not in church, but as church. It is in the gathering for gathering’s sake where we learn the purpose of life and the goal of life. And better still, it is from the author of life where we learn to navigate the potholes.
Bill Martin is Pastor at Debert Baptist Church and Points of Hope. He teaches: Man seeks the good life, but God offers the best life.