The Danger of Living A Life We Are "Driven To"
So we did it. We finally broke down and purchased a second vehicle. When we moved back to the United States from Oxford, Tim and I were determined that we were going to do our best to keep life simple. Part of that plan included being a one-car family.
While we lived in England, we became aware of the deadly power of rushing about. We had made the international move thinking that when we arrived in Oxford we would purchase a car. We had sold both our Rover and Subaru in the U.S. the month before we moved.
Our first few weeks in Oxford, though, we soon discovered how stellar the bus system was there. So we decided to skip a vehicle and go carless, hesitantly, on my part I might add. But after only a month of living without a car, I told Tim it was the best decision we had made thus far in our new country. We quickly became aware of how much precious time is wasted in a car.
We found ourselves walking the English countryside on a Saturday morning, rather than running to Costco for one more mega item we didn’t really need. We were strategic in planning our trips into city center, creating more margin for rest in our days. We loved the simplicity of life without a car.
We made it almost two years in Charlotte with one vehicle, but the bus system is not quite the same as Oxford (to put it kindly), and as Tim begins a busy season of traveling for work, we broke down and purchased a second vehicle.
But here’s the thing, we have a clear purpose and vision for our family this time around and it does not involve living a life that we are all driven to. Our life is first and foremost found within the walls of our home. The danger of always being in a car, other than the obvious, is that we may start to begin to think this alone is our real life.
We may have a second vehicle now, but it is not to add more activities to our schedule. It is actually to keep us at home more.
Before, whenever Tim would leave for a trip, the pixies and I would have to drive to and from the airport four times. One time, for Tim to pick up the rental, second for me to drive the girls back home. Next, we’d all pile back in the car to go pick Tim up again when he returned from his trip, and then finally for us to all head home together.
Now, the pixies can remain at home: the center of their life. I don’t want my girls to grow up believing that real life begins once they step outside their front door. Within the walls of their home is the abundant life that nourishes their spirits.
Susan Schaeffer Macaulay lays it all out on the table in her book For The Family’s Sake, stressing the importance of home in one’s everyday life. She writes,
“Many families now only plan for a ‘life’ that a child has to be driven to. They are ignorant of home-grown activities. After school children may go back into the van, be restrained, and be driven (already weary) to an organized activity. Although in itself the activity could be interesting or good, on top of the day at school, the child has less and less of his or her own time free from being organized. Children can thus lead lives that are as stressful as an executive’s.”
It is ok for my girls to be bored. They soon find themselves creating imaginary worlds with characters called “poison ivy” and dragons that really do blow flames. This is a good thing. And I want them to have the time at home to explore and discover these imaginary worlds.
I watch them cut an apple and sit down around the kitchen table telling ridiculous jokes. I find them outside hanging upside down from the limbs of the “friendship tree”, as they like to call it, giggling with friends.
We are the ones living life. And I don’t want to be so busy rushing about in our car that we miss the precious moments that unfold within our own home. So, as we start this new journey as a two-car family once again, my prayer is that we remember the deadly power of rushing about. May we not add another activity to our list, just because we now can.