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I Turned Left on Red

My family lives in an old house on a busy street. It is the “main drag” of our neighborhood and for a couple of months now, the city has been putting in a new water main. Massive construction has resulted in two separate two-week spans of time when we could not get in and out of our own driveway during the day. One of these spans is currently ongoing. Thus, I’ve been forced to park 500 steps away at the local high school, and enter and exit my neighborhood from there, which is most of the time the complete opposite way I typically enter and exit our neighborhood.

It’s disorienting.

So disorienting that, the other day, I sat at the intersection pictured above which I’ve driven through thousands of times in the 20 years I’ve lived here, and I TURNED LEFT ON RED. I most usually go right there, and when I saw the arrows turn green for the right, I hit the gas….even though I was in the left lane.

Immediately realizing my mistake but too late to correct it, I screamed like a banshee the whole way through the intersection. Praise God, there was no one coming. We were safe (I had my ten and fourteen year olds with me). There was no police officer there, either, to give me a ticket I definitely would have deserved. I have no excuse. I was just…disoriented. My brain said “the green arrow is for you!” My muscle memory said I was in the lane I was used to being in. They were both wrong.

When recounting this major oopsie for my husband later, it hit me: the last fifteen months have been as spiritually and politically disorienting as having my street torn up and access to my home restricted has been physically disorienting.

This past year I’ve been told that what I clearly knew was wrong was actually right, that truth is flexible, that good character is nice but not essential, that those with our best interests in mind actually just want to hurt and oppress us, that liberty is more important than loving your neighbor, that protecting your loved ones is actually living in fear, and that rights are above rules (especially that golden one).

Dis. Orient. Ing.

I turned left on red in real life. It was an accident. The irony is that many in my community think I have turned LEFT toward blue and away from red in the political sense. But that is not at all true, however any turns I’ve made in that sphere have been very much on purpose. What is true is that I’m trying to engage politics (as my friends at the AND Campaign would say) not as a progressive, not as a conservative, but as a Christian. I’m an independent.

What I have learned as an independent is that it’s a shame that some things that I don’t think SHOULD be political most definitely ARE: abortion, caring for the poor, racism, and somehow now – public health.

Disorienting.

The Great Disorientation of 2020 has not been without lessons. The biggest is that I need to keep my eyes in God’s Word. It is the compass that, along with the Holy Spirit, will keep my discernment sharp, and the path to truth more clear, even when the world seems to be tilting on its axis. After a study of Galatians by my boo thang Beth Moore with my other boo thang my sister-in-law, also named Beth, let’s just say I was properly re-oriented…and a little skeptical that a lot of my fellow Christians probably don’t actually read the Bible that much.

I hope I’m wrong there! But in any case, I highly recommend it.

And of course, I also recommend following all traffic laws.

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