17 December 2017

Spiritual Sat-Nav

If there’s one thing that drives me a little crazy it’s my husband being a passenger in my car! He gets in and before we’ve even made it out of the driveway he starts pushing buttons and making comments about a million things that are not to his pleasing! Even the kids know that he will have a catalogue of queries and eagerly look in the mirror to see me rolling my eyes as if to say, ‘Here we go again!’

I don’t think he means to do it, he just can’t help himself!

“Ruth, how does anybody sit on this seat, it’s so far forward my knees are on the dashboard?”

“Ruth, do you think the car’s pulling a bit to the left – doesn’t feel right to me!” (No pun intended of course!)

“Ruth, what setting have you got that air con at? If you put it on auto it will sit at around 20, which is about average. That’s what I drive at.”

“There’s no point putting the air con up to 24 yet…it will just keep blowing out cold air until the car warms up.”

“Ruth, what gear are you in? Feels like you need to move up one.”

“That music’s very loud!”

And so it goes on…and on…and on! I sometimes wonder I’m able to drive anywhere when I don’t have

Michael ‘Clarkson’ Ravey beside me.

Admittedly my car is a bit of a train wreck inside. Unlike my husband, I transport people about on a daily basis. People with dirty hands and feet; people with a multitude of bags; people with a mixture of grass, sand and mud on their feet from the various football, rugby and hockey pitches that they play on; people climbing from the front to the back to the very back depending on whose turn it is to be in a particular seat and people who leave the odd lolly pop wrapper on the seat or a half-used tissue on the floor – very classy! Actually now that I think about it, it’s not the first time I’ve had to prevent a younger child scoffing an M & M that’s been on the floor for a few weeks! Teeth could be lost whilst trying to crack the outer shell that has now acquired the hardness normally associated with a bullet.

I have to hold up my hands and admit that when I turn on the ignition the music booms out at top volume and you could get blown away by the little ‘air blowers’ at the front – but such is life! I sort of work on the principle that I have done well to get all the people in and out at the correct stops, on the correct day at the correct time with the correct equipment – anything after that is a bonus!

The song selection varies with the travellers. The invention of USB cables (I think that’s what they’re called) means that ‘my’ music is replaced abruptly by whatever is on the passengers’ ipods and since they are now all nearly teenagers that can sometimes seem like cruel and undeserved torture!

It can be a bit of a laugh though as we sing, shout, harmonise (badly) and rap all the way to our destination and back – what fun! The biggest complaint from the passengers is that I interrupt their musical masterpieces to answer the phone – handsfree of course!

I don’t have any fancy navigational or tracking systems on board. I tried those once but found I couldn’t quite get the hang of them. I only realised I had them in my last car when I tried to find a hockey pitch in Newtownards. The girls from the team and I drove around the town for quite a while before we actually found the leisure centre. We were up and down one-way systems and in and out of side streets but just couldn’t find our destination.

When we finally stopped outside the centre – late I might add – one of the girls asked what the wee funny screen was in the front of the car. She’d been watching it and now that we’d stopped it had stopped moving. It was then it hit me – sat nav!! I couldn’t believe it; there we were driving about like headless chickens when all the while we could have had a stepby- step route plan. I also discovered that a little ‘sat nav woman’, locked somewhere in the system would even speak and tell me the directions, only I didn’t know how to ask her!

Travelling in Michael’s car, however, is a slightly different matter. It’s a sort of First Class versus Easy Jet sort of experience. There are only two rows – front and back, so no-one is fighting over who has to go to the very back (although it has to be said the thought of placing the grumpiest person in the boot has merit). You slide into the seats that are void of melted chocolate and gooey chewits and it smells of leather, not last Saturday night’s Chinese take away. The music is piped through the ‘media’ system and consists of a fine selection of tunes – classical through to modern; no nonsensical rap I hasten to add. The radio is tuned to Classic FM and the only shock to the system is occasionally getting blasted off the seat when Richard Burton’s voice booms out an Old Testament Psalm or prophecy. He nearly feels like an extra passenger his voice is so clear!

You can drive in leisure or turbo mode, words so technical you feel that the driver should be Michael Knight from ‘Knightrider’ not your husband! The temperature is pre-programmed and Mrs Sat Nav knows exactly where she is taking you! The destination is shown clearly on the screen and the route to get you there is detailed and comprehensive, flagging up junctions, roundabouts and even places of interest. She also goes a bit nuts if you go the wrong way, telling you to turn back or flashes arrows on the screen to re-route you onto the right path. The comparisons to God’s word for the Christian are obvious. We have a destination – Heaven and God knows exactly the route we need to take on our way there. His plan for us is clear and the journey well mapped out. His word tells us in Jeremiah 1, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you” and the verse goes on to say that before we even saw the light of day God had made plans for our spiritual journey. Chapter 29 of Jeremiah also refers to the plans God has made for our lives, “to give you a future and a hope.” And how do we know what these plans are, what our route is? It’s simple; we let God be our navigator and we find out His will for our lives. Jeremiah 29 v 12 says, “Call upon Me and go and pray to Me and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.”

Keeping in touch with the navigator also means it’s much more difficult to go off course!

For the time being I’ll just keep shuttling on in my little Ravey Bus: at ease with the squishy sweets, the dirty exterior and the badly set air con. I’ll persevere with the music, mud and sand secure in the knowledge that it will always be there for me – well would you want to borrow it?!

Ruth Ravey