What If Our Commute is a Gift of Time?
I have a 25 minute drive to and from work.
On this morning’s drive in, my brain drifted to the current work patterns of government workers in a war-torn country (because that’s what my brain inexplicably does sometimes, because of…reasons). I wondered if they’re taking time for a daily commute or just sleeping at the office. If their commute looks like mine, that’s 50 minutes being robbed from them each day that they could use to marshal support, mobilize troops, or administer aid. Seems like it’s better just to roll out a cot and sleep in your cubicle.
But somewhere around minute 17, it hit me that for many of us, our commute doesn’t rob us of time, it gives us time. Where else can we get a relatively uninterrupted block of time to…
- …listen to a podcast? Not just a surface listen, but an actual, I’m-paying-attention-to-this listen which sharpens our brains? (recommendations here)
- …listen to an audiobook? Same thing. What is a new topic we need to learn about? (freebie options here)
- …check in on a suffering friend? This is a new habit I’ve tried to employ lately. On my afternoon commute, I’ll occasionally pick up the phone just to let them know they’re remembered.
- …pray? Whether it’s for a suffering friend, our suffering selves, or just to offer praise, what if we redeemed that time for good?
- …watch the sun rise (or set)? I love this time of year, because my morning commute coincides exactly with the sun peeking over the horizon. The sky has a faint glow when I pull out of my driveway, gets more colorful as I drive down the freeway, and by the time I park at the office, ol’ Mr. Sun is making himself known. It’s a beautiful (and worshipful) way to start the day.
- …think in silence? This is one I ignore far too often. What happens when I shut off my podcasts, ignore my phone, and just…(gasp)…think? (I’ll tell you what happens…new and creative thoughts happen.)
Years ago, I had a stretch of a few years where I had a 45 minute commute to work (I try not to dwell on that). My drive home was commonly filled with processing the thoughts and stresses of the day, sometimes elevating anxiety about what would be waiting on me the following morning.
But I heard a tip from a fellow commuter and dad, who encouraged me to pick a geographic spot close to my house. Whenever I passed that spot on the way home, it was my signal to turn off work brain and to turn on family brain. The final two or three minutes of the drive was to be spent getting mentally prepared to be present with my family. And you know what? When I worked the plan, it usually worked.
So today…what if? What if we viewed our commute as a blessing and not a curse? As a time-giver and not a time-waster? How can you redeem your commute for your good and God’s glory?