By Nathan LaShoto
As I entered my last year of seminary I also inherited a long drive. It came due to a recent move and appeared to be nothing but trouble. Twice a week, I drive from my home in a rural community to my school in Atlanta. I get to spend three hours in the car driving back and forth on school days. My morning drive begins at 5:30 AM and my evening drive begins at 7:00 PM. This drive was exhausting, lonely, and boring.
My friends are asleep when I begin my drive, and in the evenings I find it too exhausting to call them on the phone. When I first started the drive I would listen to music, yet, it does not take long for music to become boring. I then moved on to podcasts and talk shows to pass the time, but these too lost their appeal after some time. After exhausting all perceivable forms of entertainment, I began something new, to just drive in silence; something I had not done in a while.
The first few drives in silence seemed awkward and out of place. I often began these drives seeking those familiar forms of entertainment (podcasts or music) only to find myself resorting back to the silence. It was as if the silence was calling to me, asking me to reject the constant barrage of entertainment and sound, and just look out at the world around me.
I began noticing sunrises and sunsets. I began noticing other drivers, drinking their morning coffee or speaking to their companions in the vehicle with them. I began to feel part of a “commuter community”, surrounded by strangers embarking on their mornings or ending their days.
It was not long before I noticed two vehicles on the side of the interstate after a collision. This is not an unusual sight, but it was one that I rarely took notice of. You see, I never took time to notice those car accidents or thought too much about the people involved as I passed, until I began to drive in silence.
These silent drives forced me to not only recognize God’s creation and beauty as is expressed in sunrises and sunsets, but also God’s people. As I passed the collision I began to pray. I prayed for the people affected by the collision and I prayed for my brothers and sisters in my “commuter community”.
Sometimes the communities that God places us in are obvious, they are our church, our friends, and family circles; and other times God places us in the midst of the world, and into communities we did not even know we were a part of. What began as something I dread, became another place for me to experience and express the Kingdom of God.
Twice a week, I am blessed to be part of a community that shares sunrises and sunsets, and twice a week I get to be with this community in prayer.
Nathan LaShoto is a CBF Leadership Scholar and serves as Youth Assistant and College Minister and Gainesville First Baptist in Gainesville, Ga. He is in his final year at Candler School of Theology at Emory University in Atlanta, Ga.