Driving Miss Lizi

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                                  September 8, 2012


Several years ago there was a movie entitled Driving Miss Daisy about an elderly Jewish lady and her black chauffeur in the South, starring Jessica Tandy and Morgan Freeman. It was based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning play by Alfred Uhry.

I lived a variation of that film the past two days. It was called Driving Miss Lizi, and it was a story about a dad and his youngest daughter driving to Albuquerque and back for his daughter’s job interview and looking for an apartment.

Unlike the original Driving Miss Daisy play, this one probably won’t win any awards or be featured in the previews of upcoming movies, but it will be remembered by at least one of the main characters- me!

It included the basic details: quick bite at Arby’s in Raton, New Mexico (2 Beef and Cheddars for $5!); gas up in Bernadillo, New Mexico (I drive a hybrid! I can go a long way! My car and hold it longer than my bladder!); stay at a Senior Citizen hotel in Albuquerque (I swear there was a convention going on!); Lizi complaining about snoring; finding a Starbucks.

But what I’ll remember about the journey was the conversations, the seeking of my input about apartment possibilities, the laughter, the singing or humming along to the music on XM radio.

I’ll remember the glimpses of her mom that came out- the fears and worries, how she drives, her grace.

Sharing a journey with your child is a precious time. You wouldn’t necessarily think of driving to Albuquerque and back in a 26 hour window as precious, but it was.

Sometimes we allow our lives to get in the way with our relationships.

Too often sharing in the moment becomes secondary to the moment. For instance, how many NFL fans will become oblivious to the world and everyone else this Sunday as they sit in front of the TV? Playing video games becomes more important than who it is you are playing with. Getting the yard raked becomes more important than teaching a six year old daughter how to rake. Writing a sermon becomes more important than the people it will be preached to.

I’ve been reading through the Gospels in the past two weeks. Whereas the disciples of Jesus were usually task-oriented, Jesus had a nice mix of taking care of Kingdom work and caring for Kingdom people. He seemed to always have time for a conversation, a discussion, a walk.

I recognize that I am more like the disciples than Jesus. This evening I will probably mow the lawn because… The urgency of it will somehow center itself in my mind as the day goes on. I am task-oriented in a profession that requires work to get done, but also people to be cared for. Finding the balance is often like finding the accurate point on the weigh scale that is the balance point.

It occurs to me that driving Miss Lizi became an exceptional time because we were together in a car mostly on cruise control. Airport terminals are much more stressful…unless you fly into Huntington, West Virginia, complete with white rocking chairs.

We were in a shared, uninterrupted space. In fact, perhaps the most meaningful times I’ve had with family and friends this summer have involved driving: Going with Carol and Lizi to Telluride; driving with Carol to Vail; and driving on-road and off with the group of young guys I lead to a remote camping spot so off the beaten path that even wild animals can’t find it.

In another month or so I’ll make another trip with Lizi and Carol to the same city in New Mexico. This time, however, Carol and I will return without her.

There will be tears…and Carol won’t let me stop at Long John Silver’s!

Explore posts in the same categories: Christianity, Community, Faith, Grace, Humor, Jesus, love, Parenting, Story, The Church, Youth

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