why he’ll go to Heaven and I won’t…

I have come home at last! This is my real country! I belong here.
This is the land I have been looking for all my life, though I never knew it till now…
Come further up, come further in!”

C.S. Lewis, The Last Battle


Salut St Marie, Canada / Julie Cook / 2017)

Ok, so that’s probably not the most logical, theological or rational assessment
of who is and who isn’t Heaven bound…

But it’s how I often feel about my husband…

He’s a shoe-in…and well, the jury is still out with me…
or at least that’s how I often feel.

He’s good like that.

As in a much better person than I am.

He’s very generous.
He yields to others willingly.
He’s tender-hearted.
He can be emotional..unafraid to shed a tear.
He’s kind when others are not.
He defers willingly and graciously to others who don’t deserve it.
He will always step aside for those rushing past despite his falling back in line
or missing out.
He gives freely of his time to those who take it readily for granted.
He’s old school.
He’s modest.
He’s polite.
He’s content being last despite having always been a stellar All American athlete who
knew what it took to win…which he did back in the day.
He’s a gentleman.
He doesn’t begrudge.
He doesn’t disparage.
He has a simple and humble faith…

I on the other hand..well I attribute my more aggressive, bossy, helter-skelter demeanor to
being born and raised in the city verses his more country lineage.

Take today for example…

We’d gone over to Atlanta to help take the baby out for her first dining experience at a
real restaurant for what we hoped would be an enjoyable lunch for all in attendance…
ie. the exhausted set of new parents.

I grew up in this city and I can honestly say that I don’t recognize it anymore!

One of the past mayors once coined the phrase, “Atlanta, a city too busy to hate…”
I wonder if that mayor had ever driven himself around town,
say during the height of rush hour?

Not only has the landscape drastically changed with landmarks being mowed
down making way for bigger, better and glitzy…very few true Atlantans exist.
It has become a city of transplants.
No one even has a southern accent anymore…except maybe just me.

Driving in town is now much like driving in Rome, Italy.
Chaos living on the edge.
Lanes don’t seem to matter…
signals, lights, signs are all just adornments with the unspoken knowledge that they simply
are not to be followed.
Speed limits are merely numbers and considered totally optional as they are actually more
of a hindrance.

I was naturally driving today.

I always drive when we go to Atlanta because traversing the infamous Perimeter, aka 285,
is not for the faint of heart.
It takes a daredevil with an overtly aggressive mindset…
something my husband is not and has not.

Also, DOT illuminated roadsigns constantly alert drivers as to issues further down the road,
making the need of having a Plan B always essential.
Of which we had to do this past Sunday afternoon when the notice was flashing that
police activity had all lanes shut down near where our exit was located…
so I had to exit long before the impending backup and find an alternative route.

Think roller derby except with cars…
Cars that are driving a good 20 to 30 miles per hour over the posted speed limit…
yet we are reminded that speed limits here are optional.
Everyone is jockeying for position.
Cars going 90 mph on a 70 max mph interstate are as common as the name Peachtree on
every other street while each one prefers driving unbridled and uninhibited…
having no one near to block their progress.
Throw in a few carjackers also fleeing on the interstate as they don’t care who they
hit or cut off.
There is indeed a reason for those DOT signs always posting the number of roadway
fatalities…

Since we’ve installed a car seat base in my car, I opted to drive us all to lunch.
The baby, my son, and husband were all piled in the back seat while my daughter-n-law
and I commandeered the front.

As we approached the main thoroughfare, we stopped at the red light.
As any normal driver would do when seeing a red light, I stopped.
Isn’t that what a red light means…stop??

The opposite traffic had a turning arrow.
Arrow lights in Atlanta are really fun.
Even when they end and turn back red, cars continue turning…
as if the red light is non-existent.

These moments make my husband nervous as he begins grousing and loudly complaining as
to why anyone would want to live in this city.

Cars will turn in front of oncoming traffic until the mass of oncoming cars
dares to simply run them over…then they’ll stop….like they should have
when the light actually turned red.
This is a reason as to why the city has red light cameras now in place.

Like a camera will get these people to actually stop…yeah right….

So as I had the green light to go straight, I wanted to do just that…go straight.
But the opposite on-coming cars just kept turning on their red light arrow.
Finally, I had no choice but to lead my line of cars straight…
right into those trying to turn against us.
I laid on my horn.
At this point, my husband wanted to open the car door, discreetly exit and walk home.

The driver of the fourth car that continued turning through a red arrow looked right
at me and proceeded to throw the F word my way.
Really???

Here I was going, as I should, on a green light, having even allotted these idiots
free time to cut me and an entire line of green light cars off and I get cursed.

I hit the horn again.

By now my husband is having apoplexy and my son is ready to fight someone as he’s had to cut
his teeth in this city.

Long story short—we finally got through the intersection in one piece.

Lunch was delightfully uneventful.

And everyone in the car was more than ready to get the heck out of the city and head back
to the country…

So the next time when you hear the news or our politicians tout that those who live in the
more rural areas of our states are ignorant, backwards, deplorable, limited…think again…
they are actually the smarter ones amongst us.

And driving in the city is enough to make anyone lose their religion, even my poor husband…

Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven,
but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.
On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name,
and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’
And then will I declare to them,
‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’

Matthew 7:21-23

24 comments on “why he’ll go to Heaven and I won’t…

  1. Elihu says:

    Driving in any city can be frustrating. I’ve lived in two large cities, two medium-sized cities and one small town. I’ve visited countless cities across the United States and I like driving in Dallas about as much as I like driving in LA—not at all!

    Cities are notoriously worse than small towns because there is so much going on you don’t have as much time to process your next move. I haven’t been to Atlanta, but I’ve heard its a crazy place to drive.

    Driving is, I think, one of those modes by which our patience is tested and *hopefully* refined. 🙂

  2. atimetoshare.me says:

    My hubby is also a saint, except when he gets behind the wheel. As far as he’s concerned, there is no one on the roads that know how to drive. They don’t go the speed limit or follow the signs. A great parallel to the way our world is going. I love you Julie. You always make me smile.

    • As I love you my little jar jar— trust me I was definitely finding a correlation between our current lives mirroring the madness on the roadways— there is definitely a me first and me only mentality — at any and all costs— I’ll take an old dirt backroad any day 🤪😜

  3. oneta hayes says:

    Love your story. Occasionally I let someone else have first place on the highway; it makes me feel so saintly! More often I am griped but I do not try to get even; I just think about it. My car often “jerks” when I start off at a light. If I start off slowly and be careful I can handle it smoothly. During the two or three seconds it takes me to reach max speed, cars honk and roar past me as soon as possible. It always delights me to catch up with them before the next light just to show them how smooth and cool this old woman in her old car can catch up. I am graceful enough to try to get out of their lane for the next stop!

  4. Tricia says:

    Glad you all survived! I was on the road most of the day traveling from Southern to Central California. If I didn’t know better I would have thought I was in a third world country due to the abominable shape of the roads.

    I haven’t been to Atlanta in over a decade. Even back then though I remember the traffic being horrendous!

  5. Salvageable says:

    I’m no fan of traffic. Every household needs a designated driver for the big city.
    As for your starting point: I have often remarked on the fact that our saintliness is seen by others far more often than we notice it ourselves. We are indeed being transformed, but each of us sees our own shortcomings more clearly than our successes, whereas others notice the successes more than the shortcomings. J.

  6. You are such a wonderful writer… you turn a harrowing traffic journey into slapstick comedy! I love it! But I do hate driving in big city traffic. So glad you were all safe! Love and huge hugs! ❤

  7. RobbyeFaye says:

    I hate driving in Atlanta! (Though D.C,, LA and Dallas are much, much worse. Thankfully, I am seldom ever in those cities anymore!)
    You are right about the changes to Atlanta, too. It seems like it has a whole new landscape from day to day!
    I’m glad you made it safely and enjoyed your meal.
    Blessings~

  8. Karen says:

    You have such a way with words and always give me a smile with stories like this. Your experience reminds me of driving in Miami. Many of the drivers there come from countries that mustn’t require drivers licenses if you go by the way they drive on the streets in cars that don’t look like they will go for another block. All our children live in that area and we go down to visit only once a year because the traffic drives us crazy. After five days, we can’t wait to return to our small beach town. We tell them to come visit us instead. 🙂

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