Today was the day to begin driving on the wrong side of the road. Or on the left side of the road, depending on how you look at it. It was not easy making the transition from steering wheel on the left and driving on the right to steering wheel on the right and driving on the left. Did you get all that?
Fact is, I’m inexperienced, a novice, a beginner, truly green when it comes to operating a vehicle in Ireland. All that experience of driving in North, South, and Central America for all those years (decades, centuries, millennia?) seemed worthless today when I put myself behind a right-handed steering wheel.
It took me 25 minutes to get out of the Hertz parking lot. All the employees stood around watching, and I think I could hear their thoughts as they watched in gleeful horror as I made several attempts to get through the gate without slashing my tires. Phonating in beautiful Irish brogue, I think I could hear them saying to one another: “Aye, another crazy American is about to hit our streets and highways again! I hope he purchased the full insurance package, ay?”
In fact, I did!
If you think driving forward is a bear, trying backing up. Or parallel parking. Or having the windshield wipers wipe the wrong way.
In Ireland, “give way” means “yield.”
“Look left” means, “if you’re looking right for traffic, you’re looking the wrong direction and you’re about to get T-boned.”
“Look right” means, “come on, you American greenhorn, get with our program and drive left … and LOOK left, too!”
“Blind summit” means you can’t see over the hill.
Isn’t “blind summit” redundant? Of course it’s blind! Inherent in the definition of a summit is the implication of blindness beyond it. Who among us can see over the next hill? Or who knows what lies beyond the next mountain? Or who has known the mind of God? Nobody.
So then, we’re all green in one way or another. No matter how navigationally adept, intellectually developed, technologically savvy, spiritually mature, theologically sound, intuitively aware, or morally pure, summits are still blind. We’re all rookies to some extent. To a person, we all have to admit to being some shade of green.
After today’s 250+ kilometer drive on various kinds of Irish roadways, my nerves are shot. However, I saw some of the most spectacular scenery Ireland – or, the world, for that matter – has to offer. I have never experienced more natural wonder and magnificence than what was seen today driving from Belfast to Ballycastle to Londonderry to Sligo. It was like motoring through a pristine and surreal movie set. It was “Jack and the Beanstalk,” “Braveheart,” “Lord of the Rings,” and “Harry Potter” all rolled up into one. And toss in “The Sound of Music,” too.
Every conceivable shade of green was visible for the amazement, astonishment, adoration, and worship of the One who created it all.
When it comes to living a life of faith and following Christ, there is no shame in admitting greenness.
After all, after today’s travels, it seems green may be one of God’s favorite colors. If not, why would God create so many shades of it?
Green with gratitude,