Traveling Life: Lessons in Barriers

Boston to Manhattan is not a bad drive. In fact, it’s good.

I set off in our SUV with my three children. We stop on the way for lunch at Rein’s Deli. Not really my favorite food, but it has fame in New England, and therefore it’s one to check off.

It’s Friday. We are meeting up with my husband, who has appointments in the city. Then we will have a family weekend of theatre, shopping, and Hillsong.

We get our first sighting of the Big Apple as we cross the Whitestone Bridge. The Manhattan skyline takes one’s breath away, no matter how many times you’ve seen it.

Manhattan skyline

There are no barriers with our access to God. No payments need to be made. We can freely walk right into His presence.

It offers magical moments, unlimited excitement, and now with the newly finished Freedom Tower prominent to the south, sobering reminders of terror and unwelcome threats.

I’ve travelled to New York City many times—sometimes by plane, often by train, and other times by car. My husband has always been behind the wheel, negotiating the Manhattan traffic. But now it is my turn.

We arrive at the Midtown tunnel toll. A barrier blocks our way. My daughter holds up the E-ZPass to the windshield. The light remains red. The barrier stays down. Has our credit card expired? “You held it upside down” I accuse my daughter sitting next to me. As if that would make any difference.

Traffic builds up behind us. Now what? We are blocked in, front and behind.

There are no barriers with our access to God. No payments need to be made. We can freely walk right into His presence.

A hand, palm up, belonging to a police officer, appears at the window. She stands waiting. I fumble to open the window and hand her the the small white box, which should let us on our way. We watch the police officer take the E-ZPass and slam it against the barrier. It jerks into life and slowly rises. We are free to go.

Soon we emerge from the tunnel, like a great water hose spewing cars into the center of Manhattan.

manhattan street

 

Manhattan is an assault on the senses. Horns honk. People flood the sidewalks and spill onto the street with the walk sign, or jaywalk their way between the lines of traffic. The sensors on the car squawk loudly. Towering buildings cast long shadows and block out the sun. Restaurant workers add yet more trash bags to piles of already reeking refuse building up on the side of the road.

Three lines of free flowing traffic are suddenly forced to squeeze into narrow streets. Everything comes to a standstill. I find myself in the far left hand lane, hugging the sidewalk, and following the car in front. I feel uncomfortable. Normally, this lane is used for stationary vehicles. Sure enough a parked van blocks our way. I indicate and gingerly edge the nose of our car into the middle lane.

“Come on Rachel, you can do this,” I push myself. “You used to drive in London.”

Somehow the middle lane feels wider, freer. I am sitting behind a large Escalade, much bigger and broader than my own vehicle. I feel safe. Where he goes I can go, too. What he does I can do, too. I stay close to my new friend. Suddenly, the maelstrom of Manhattan traffic seems easier to navigate. My shoulders relax.

Jesus said, “Follow me. Hitch up with me, I make the way easy.

We make a deliberate choice to do this at 10:00am on Sunday morning.

Hillsong

 

Church, Hillsong style, is a blast. Oreos are served after forty-five minutes of worship. Yet, I leave with one thing—my life should hold nothing but my Savior. Jesus is the only Pass we need.

 

This week, I am linking up with Amy Schlichter at #LookingUp, Susan Mead at #DancingWithJesus,  Tayrina Gonzalez at #WordsofComfort, Kelly Sue Detweiler at #LifeGivingLinkup, Kelly Balarie at #RaRaLinkup, Crystal Storms at #Intentional Tuesday, Crystal Storms at #HeartEncouragement, Susan B. Mead at #DanceWithJesusGrace & Truth, and Arabah Joy at

Photos: Phoebe Britton


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