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COLUMN: ON THE ROAD — Make sure you take note of the blessings in the car as you travel

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By Jon Rohr

I recently got back from a long road trip, literally two days there and two days back. Because of the timetable we really didn’t have a lot of time to stop along the way. You know what I mean, people are always saying to “stop and smell the roses.” But let’s face it, sometimes you just can’t stop.
Some people say, “The joy is in the journey.”  And sometimes that is the case, but for some of us two days in a car covering as much ground as you can is tough. I am a big guy, 6 foot 5 and I weigh ... well, let’s not talk about that. Anyway, even in a big truck or car I can get a little cramped after a while.  
So where is the joy along the sometimes long and difficult road? Maybe instead of looking for the beauty outside the window or at some tourist stop along the way, maybe we need to look a little closer. Perhaps the joy in the journey is found in the person in the seat next to us, or even behind us. (Of course if you are driving be a little careful with that.) Maybe the real joy is in found in the fellowship of the road, the people traveling with us.
These days with cell phones and portable DVD players and ear buds a road trip can be a lonely thing.  Everyone is in their own little world and missing the joy of simple conversation, the spontaneous laughter of a shared moment together. It’s also in those moments of unguarded and unguided conversation that real and deep communication can happen.
The Lord reminds us, “Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone” (Colossians 4:6 NIV). That implies first of all that we are having conversations. In our busy lives sometimes those moments in the car together may be great times for families to really talk together.  
That verse also tells us that our conversations have a purpose. So maybe as we talk together, in a car or anywhere, we need to listen for those opportunities to share the love, grace, and mercy of God. We are so busy, so on the go, that we forget to even talk about life and faith.
Next time you get ready for a road trip, remember the treasures sitting in the car with you. Laugh together. Listen to each other. Love each other. Ask the Lord to help you really connect with the people who are sharing life’s journey together with you.  And by the way, if you have a little time, stop along the way and smell the roses.