Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Driving As a Spiritual Practice

Reverendmother posted a wonderful essay on The Spirituality of Driving today. It's truly a must read.

Like reverendmother, I live in suburbia and spend a lot of time in the car commuting to my church in the Memorial area , to the presbytery office in Montrose, and to downtown Houston for concerts, plays, and other big events. My husband commutes 25 miles daily to his downtown law firm office.

I love RM's point about driving as liminal space--a transition between work or meetings and home. El Jefe finds this very important to him in his high-pressure job. I have learned to use my commuting time as prayer time and look forward to it. Often I turn off the radio and iPod so that it is just "quiet" (relatively) time for me.

As RM says, driving together with family and friends gives a wonderful opportunity to deepen relationships. Some of my best and most meaningful time with our girls came while driving them to and from school and activities--something I missed when they became old enough to drive. I still miss the two day drives to Sewanee, Tennessee with Babs when she was in college there. Good times!

Thanks, RM, for pointing out the spirituality in one of the mundane tasks of our culture--driving.

Do you find driving can be a spiritual practice?


Jane Ellen+ said...

As much time as I spend in the car (about 500 miles/week, average), I've had to learn to make it so. And it is, in a variety of ways: Down time for restoration; transition from one spiritual (as well as temporal) place to the next; connection in relationships; and/or observation of God's hand in creation.

About the only thing that wouldn't work well is serious contemplation. Navel gazing doesn't mesh well with keeping one's eyes on the road. That could lead, as the word verification notes, to dizaters. (^_^)

zorra said...

Although I do have other daily opportunities for peace and quiet, I'll often leave the radio off in the car to enjoy the relative silence.

ROBERTA said...

i do spend a lot of time in my car - driving 45 minutes to work. i like to listen to classical music as it calms me & since i live in one of the most beautiful places on earth (olympic peninsula), i'm always just around the corner from yet another breathtaking view.

on sundays i carpool with someone i work with at the church and we have something we call "cartalk" - conversations that never leave the confines of the car.

so yes, driving can be quite the spiritual practice!

Rev Kim said...

My drive to church is 40 miles each way. While I don't engage in "intense" spiritual practices during the drive - trying to keep my eyes out for deer, etc., - the time provides a nice transition from office to home. On Sunday mornings I do use the drive to get myself prepared mentally and spiritually to worship and to lead in worship, sometimes finishing off my sermon in my head, or often listening to a favorite hymn cd.

Gannet Girl said...

Absolutely. The car has been a wonderful place for conversation with kids and when I am alone, including on the 2.5 hour drives to or from seminary, I often leave the radio off so I can pray or just think in consecutve sentences.

mid-life rookie said...

Drive time has been a blessing in different ways at different times in my life. When we lived in the next suburb over and manBoy (then preschooler) and I made the trip to our schools, we had the best conversations! Of course the "Why?" period got a little tedious.

When I was working as a Hospital Chaplain in the most difficult of situations and G&T was laid off, the drive from work to home and vice versa was my saving grace. It was the only time/space I could go where there wasn't great pain all around me.

Thanks for reminding me how much of a blessing drive time can be.