Monday, October 26, 2009

Driving As A Spiritual Adventure

This past weekend, I took two trips that involved about 10 hours of driving. On Saturday, my wife and I drove to the lovely village of Litchfield, CT to browse shops and have lunch. On Sunday, I drove to Saratoga Lake, NY for the Head of the Fish rowing regatta.

Both drives were through peak fall colors. The Sunday drive included the picturesque Taconic Parkway, a scenic road through forest and farmland. There were many "ohs" and "ahs" in praise of the scenery and I found these drives spiritually nourishing.

In addition to beautiful scenery, there is another reason why driving can be spiritually nourishing. When you're heading out of town on the open road, there is a sense of joyful freedom. There is both the relief of getting away from the stresses of daily life and the thrill of seeing new places and new sights. You feel as if you're embarking on a new adventure like the early explorers who set out into the American wilderness.

Driving can be either boring or exciting. Everything depends on the attitude we bring to this activity. I guess you could say this about almost every activity of life. However, I believe our attitude especially affects driving, whether we find it soul-feeding or soul-sapping. I think the key is whether we view driving as a means-to-an-end (i.e. getting to our destination asap) or whether we see it as an activity through which we can have a deeper connection with God’s creation.

I try to view driving in the latter way, although I don’t always discover a spiritual connection while driving. Like any activity, experiencing the spiritual dimension of driving takes practice. But, at its best, driving can be a spiritual adventure.

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