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Amongst our children, as far as driving instruction goes, the general consensus was that it was a bit easier to learn to drive with me. And that largely, had to do with their mother’s proclivity for high pitched imprecations when frightened.
In all three instances, we did rounds around the parking lot at the back of the church, seeking to experiment with right turns, left turns, braking, parallel parking, backing up, and pretty much anything I could think of to torment them as they learned. One of the themes that I repeated time and again was this encouragement: “Be one with the car.” That would annoy them. First Jonah, then Elias and finally, Maria, each in their turn would become frustrated with me. I repeated myself with startling frequency, because creating existential angst in young people seems to give me a modicum of joy (just ask our forthcoming confirmands). “What does that even mean?” they would moan.
I attempted to describe how the driver can become so in tune with her vehicle that one’s reactions become instantaneous and without any reflection for hesitation. I told them how I have often driven a long distance, engrossed in conversation with someone, and at the end of the journey have no clear memory of any of the curves or turns or stops along the way. I left point A, and I arrived at point B, ‘one with the car.’
As delightful as a description as that was, to them it seemed vague and incomprehensible. “What does that even mean?”
This weekend, we struggle with the prayer in Jesus’ farewell discourse, where Jesus asks the Father that the disciples be as one, just as Jesus and the Father were one. This is a tough one, quite simply because none of us is really sure about: “What does that even mean?”