Route 66, in many ways, had a punishing impact on my old Ford. Hence the title of this post: Route 666.
Here is a partial list of issues my truck encountered while journeying 2,500 relentlessly demanding miles.
- At least 25 quarts of oil drizzled along the highways and side roads between Jacksonville, Alabama and San Jose, California. Since completing the adventure, a number of people have asked me which route I took; I tell them it’s distinctly marked. Like Hansel and Gretel leaving a trail of white pebbles, I could easily retrace my every turn.
- The steering gearbox is worn. Very worn. What started off in ‘Bama as tight steering ended with a lot of play in the wheel. I can place my hand at the top of the steering wheel – twelve o’clock – and turn the wheel with my hand oscillating between 11 and 1 yet the truck continues traveling straight. I gotta say that I really don’t know a thing about steering gear boxes, but clearly something isn’t right. When asked how much of Route 66 I drove I tell people “all of it.” Not that I traveled all of it from Chicago to Los Angeles; I traveled all of it from side to side, swerving all over the road – inadvertently drifting back and forth from the center line across to the shoulder of the road and back again. I wonder if I coulda saved 100 miles by simply staying in my lane. I really gotta get that steering checked.
- At some point in Arizona I noticed that sometimes, but not always, putting the truck in reverse causes a horrible grinding sound – like metal spinning on bare metal. I finally figured that I wouldn’t notice it as much with my headphones on and the music turned up.
4 (and 5). Then there was the coolant leak that required a new lower radiator hose (and the assistance of Beth’s Longaberger basket liner). About the same time the oil cap breather hose dried out, cracked and eventually broke in two. Duct tape did the trick, and still holds it in place today.
I’m not saying my old Ford ran flawlessly before I left, but she’s certainly limping more now than ever before. I want to say Route 666 is to blame. But that’s not fair to the road, nor is it being honest about the issues of my truck.
Once again my leaky, decrepit truck is a mirror for my life. I am a guy who tends to blame the road when I really need to get honest about my own brokenness, my own issues and unreliability. Just as the road did not break my truck, the winding path I take through life merely reveals my own weaknesses, flaws, and hidden brokenness – issues that were already present and lurking beneath the hood of my soul.
In Genesis chapter 3 Adam infamously argued with God by saying, “The woman you gave me, she led me to eat the forbidden fruit.” In one sentence, Adam blamed his wife and also God. I’d wag my finger at Adam, but I, too, tend to place blame far more than I accept it.
Like Adam, maybe you woke up one day to an ideal, Route 66 marriage. Now, just three chapters in, you wonder how you wound up on Route 666. Remember, quite often life simply reveals the brokenness of our own soul. Most every marriage stretches across a hot desert of unfair fighting and arguing, but are you the one losing your coolant? I know this sounds harsh, but maybe it’s true, and maybe you need to quit blaming the road. Travel lighter by emptying the trunk of blame’s baggage.
Or, as another example, you may think you have a Route 666 kid, but God is hoping that this precious child will awaken you to areas of your own soul that are in need of His touch, in need of something much stronger than a roll of duct tape. As parents it’s tempting to put on the headphones of work and turn up the volume, drowning out the sounds of our own impatience. Yet even at that job we wrongly conclude that it’s our Route 666 boss who is the problem. Maybe, just maybe, we should stop blaming the road when we are the dangerous drivers, swerving in our own woundedness. We really ought to get this checked.
God came looking for Adam in the evening, after the pavement cooled. Instead of meeting God in their usual parking spot, Adam hid.
“Where are you?” God posed this question so Adam could plead guilty to his location, his lostness apart from God. God opened the door to the healing work of confession.
But instead of confession, Adam chose blame.
I’m not denying that life’s road is long and trying. On this road we will have troubles.
So I want to remind you of something, something that I hope you find to be very freeing: It is not your job to repave the road.
God is quietly asking, “Where are you?” I can’t speak for you, but I’m easy to find: Simply follow the trail of smoky excuses and oily slip-ups.
God, here I am. I am broken and in need of Repair.