New York Driving & Authentic Community

May 21st 2010

I spent the day in New York City today.  Lynn and I are spending a few days with Sarah to celebrate her graduation from PSU.  Day 1 was spent in the big apple.  Lunch at the Shake Shack.  A guided tour of Chelsea Market and the High Line Park with one of Sarah’s friends Stephanie.  Brick Oven Pizza just off Times Square and then a Broadway show.

It was a good day…except for Sarah’s comment, “Dad, NYC driving brings out the worst in you.”  Ouch.  But she’s right.  new_york_city_01

It started out as good natured internal competition.  In other words, internally, in my own mind I was competing with the other drivers.  Nothing wrong with that…at least not in my world…a little competition is good for the soul.  But then I started getting annoyed.  Holy-Lane-Cutting-Automobiles…there are so many people to be annoyed at.  That guy that won’t let me get over a lane so that I can turn at the one-way that I just realized is my street.  That lady in front of me at the toll booth who sat in her car for a good 4.5 minutes looking for money to pay the toll booth operator.  Then there was the person who honked at me when I didn’t immediately go when the light turned green — in my defense I thought I should wait for the car ahead of me to go first.  Oh yeah don’t forget about the haughty pedestrian crossing the street when he shouldn’t.  He was hurrying until he saw that I saw him, then he slowed to a turtle’s pace as though to say…”whaddya gonna do — run me over?”

So before I knew it, what started as an internal game turned into external annoyance.  And the external annoyance turned to a few words.  Like the little boy once said to his mother, “Mommy how come when daddy drives, all the idiots are driving?”   :)

The nature of New York City driving is that submission is not rewarded with success.  Seriously if you drive in a submitted fashion you will never reach your destination.  The race is won by those who exert their automobile rights, step on the gas, cut over without looking, honk, ignore eye contact when you are looking for a break-in space.  Did I say honk?  I have to be honest… I like driving in New York City.  :)

But here is my take home.  God’s teachable moment for me.  If we relate to people, the way I drive in New York City…wow.  Authentic community dies.  Because when it comes to authentic community — success ultimately comes to those who learn the life-giving power of submission.  There is no long-term community without submission.  Without submission, ultimately there will be a reason to drive in different directions.  Without healthy, vibrant submission, relationships become a race to win and everyone ultimately loses.

I’m going to hit this one a few more times in the coming days… under the heading “submission and community.”  But for the moment, let me just ask you, when it comes to relationships are you a NYC driver?