The road I grew up on is paved but barely wide enough for two cars to pass, each with one tire on the berm. The ditch beside the road often collects rainwater like a very long narrow pond great for penny back newts and frogs. Walking to and from church every Sunday was a farm girl’s treat. At the top of our driveway there remains a particularly nice mud puddle perfect for spring peepers, and on the bank a patch of touch-me-nots waits for playful hands. In one curve there are two trees that have grown together to form the letter “H” and another roadside tree looks like the head of an elephant. When we drive past we acknowledge them like one does an old familiar friend. My grandpa told us stories of the road’s early days when people first began to own cars. He said if you were walking and heard one of the mechanical beasts sputtering around the bend, you had no choice but to jump over the roadside to avoid the unsteady driver. And when I was a kid mom and Aunt Hilda took all of us little girls on a bike ride to Holly River State Park about five miles away. Mom rode in front and Aunt Hilda brought up the rear of the parade. Whenever a car approached from either end, sensing danger, they would yell, “CAR!!!” and we would all pull to the side petrified until it passed. I share these snapshots to establish two things: We understand our road and we are connected to it.
In many places the sides drop off into deep ravines and sometimes the river. Guardrails protect some of these areas but obviously installing them at every place of questionable danger is impossible. Over several trips home I’ve watched this scenario unfold along “my road”: Seeing danger some good neighbor put a stick in the would-be-hole-of-death and put a solo cup on it. Driving past that stick with the solo cup we were grateful that someone noticed the danger and cared enough to warn the rest of us. Their effort was greatly appreciated but erosion at the drop-off got worse and the stick with the solo cup fell into the ravine. This was a tragedy because now many people drove past totally unaware of the very real danger. Eventually a significant portion of the road broke away and the State got involved and installed a metal post with reflectors. Since it’s unavoidable, almost in the middle of the road, drivers are forced to slow down and drive around it, but the main problem of erosion still isn’t fixed. Things will keep deteriorating unless the foundation is repaired and fortified. I do understand how most of you who don’t drive on this road don’t care deeply about the stick with the solo cup on it issue because it really doesn’t affect you directly.
Looking at current tension in our country, there could be a lack of understanding or a disconnection simply because the issue involves a road not everyone drives on regularly… But like a good old country road needing more than a patch-job, things will continue to deteriorate unless the foundation is repaired. Jesus had something to say about the foundation: “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.” (Matthew 7:24-25) And He is the Rock.
Polite and proper people say we are living in "unprecedented times" while the more blunt of us observe we're a big hot mess. Imagine in this wonderful country of ours where we enjoy so many freedoms, if we truly focused on our soul's foundation and live loved. I also believe in the ultimate healing of our country, the road to success is understanding we’re not in this thing solo.
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Janet Cowger- Fliegel