Grace on the road

Pastoral Messages | September 26, 2018

A few weeks ago, I hopped in my car at the end of a full day, turned out of the church parking lot, and headed north on Brady Street to make my way home. Most days, I’m in no particular hurry. I’ve always enjoyed those few evening moments in the car as a time to catch my breath and quiet my mind just a bit.

But on this particular day, I hadn’t traveled more than a few blocks before I found myself behind a slow moving car that seemed to be in even less of a hurry than I was. Perhaps it was the events of the full day or my hangry stomach that was more than ready for dinner, but I was lacking patience to remain behind this sedan for too long. So I got set to maneuver to a different lane, only to have them start to shift as well. Without the use of their turn signal, we were now both in the same situation, just one lane to the right. But now with at least one of us a bit more aggravated.

My patience was wearing quite thin, and I’ll admit that I was nearly ready to lay on the horn (perhaps a little too eager to do so) when I noticed a yellow sticker on the side of the car that said “Student Driver.” Upon a closer look, I could see a young teenager with hands clutched on the wheel.

Having realized this was likely a fairly inexperienced driver, still learning both the responsibility and skill of safe driving, I immediately found myself much calmer. I quickly thought back to my own days of fearfully sitting behind the wheel of a car for the first time, equal parts terrified and thrilled at the new possibilities. So I gave the car a little extra room and eventually made my way into another lane, smiling as I passed by, seeing the instructor in the passenger seat offering guidance.

As I finished my commute, I thought about how quickly I offered some semblance of grace to the driver once I understood their particular circumstances. How willing I was to be a bit more patient, and give a little extra room on the road, once I discovered more of the story. I wondered to myself if I would’ve been just as understanding if the sign on the car hadn’t been there. The answer: probably not.

It was a brief but humbling reminder to me that we simply don’t know what stories and experiences any of us are carrying around at any given time. What “signs” would be attached to each of us that would signal the need for a little extra understanding or compassion as we travel through our days.

I guess that might be why Paul says that, first and foremost, love is patient and kind. Or why the fruits of the Spirit (peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, etc.) are the sorts of things that are most often needed when interacting with others. Come to think of it, Jesus seemed to approach nearly every interaction with others, even those who surely must’ve made him a bit aggravated, with a hefty dose of compassion and understanding.

It seems to me that we might imagine every person walking (or driving) near us wearing their own sign: “Child of God.” Reminding us that, no matter the circumstances, every person is worthy of our care and patience.

Katy Warren, associate pastor

13 Comments on “Grace on the road”

  • Carrie Canterbury

    October 2, 2018 at 2:20 pm

    Great reminder Katy to offer more grace, kindness and patience even when we may be in a hurry or not having a good day.

  • Deb Lamp

    September 29, 2018 at 11:15 am

    Katy what a great reminder for all of us. We are all an inexperienced driver sometime in life. Thank you

  • Kathie Heaps

    September 29, 2018 at 9:28 am

    Katy…perfect timing. Sharing! Love ya girl

  • Birgit Maass

    September 28, 2018 at 10:00 am

    Thanks Katy, I also so enjoyed reading this and what a great message. Strive to be more patient and kind, always a great reminder.

  • Debbie Case

    September 28, 2018 at 6:10 am

    Pastor Katy, Thank you for this article. It was exactly what I needed to read and meditate on this morning. Working with young children every day, it is easy to forget that their personal and unique stories are a part of their learning process. Thank you! 🙂

  • Dorry Curran

    September 28, 2018 at 5:11 am

    Beautifully put…. and aren’t we all “student drivers” as we travel on the highway of life? We are always slowly maneuvering through life’s new and ever more complex experiences, as God sits beside us offering guidance. Just as a teenage driver seems to need more patience and space and grace as he learns to master an automobile, we all need patience and space and grace as we learn to master life.

  • Babs Treiber

    September 27, 2018 at 9:28 pm

    Very good perspective, Katie. Thank you for the reminder! Babs

  • Marci Barnhart

    September 27, 2018 at 4:30 pm

    Beautiful reminder. I start each day with good intentions but find I need to hit the refresh button on occasion. I usually feel better once I do.

  • Barb Kuttler

    September 27, 2018 at 2:11 pm

    This brings to me an old song
    Less of Me
    Glen Campbell, Bobbie Gentry
    Let me be a little kinder
    Let me be a little blinder
    To the faults of those about me
    Let me praise a little more
    Let me be when I am weary
    Just a little bit more cheery
    Think a little more of others
    And a little less of me
    Let me be a little braver
    When temptation bids me waver
    Let me strive a little harder
    To be all that I should be
    Let me be a little meeker
    With the brother that is weaker
    Let me think more of my neighbor
    And a little less of me

    Thanks, Pastor Katy!

    • Joan Bruce

      September 28, 2018 at 10:32 am

      I love the song. Thanks, Barb.

  • Irene Hanssen

    September 27, 2018 at 2:02 pm

    Why do we all need to be reminded on a daily bases that we need to be more kind, compassionate, and understanding the needs of others? You have reminded me of this.

  • Pat Koranda

    September 27, 2018 at 1:54 pm

    I do so enjoy your perspective on the different aspects of our lives. Your article reminded me of listening to Paul Harvey’s “The Rest of the Story” for years on my drive home from the office. We all need to take time to understand “The Rest of the story”.

    Thanks Katy.

  • Kimberly Raap

    September 27, 2018 at 1:38 pm


    I so enjoyed reading your message today, “Grace on the Road.” It was a good reminder to all of us on peace, patience, and kindness.

    Thank you,

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