For my job, I drive a lot. Not a lot lot, like some salesmen I know, who put 70 or 80 thousand miles per year on their cars. I only put about 30,000 miles on my car each year, visiting clients throughout Connecticut and western Massachusetts. But that’s still a fair amount of time each week behind the wheel.
Thankfully, I enjoy driving. Oh, don’t get me wrong. There are still plenty of times when I sigh in frustration and mutter things like, “Is this bleeping traffic ever going to start moving again?!” or, “Uh oh, the road feels icy!” or my new favorite lament, “Man, if I don’t find a public restroom — and soon! — I’m gonna do something I haven’t done since I was five years old!” (And I don’t mean finger-painting, if you get my BPH drift.)
One of the benefits of driving so much is that I can do a lot of praying behind the wheel. No, I don’t mean those panic-induced outbursts of prayer, like, “Oh Jesus, HELP ME!!!!” whenever some distracted yahoo in a BMW cuts right in front of me at 80 mph. Usually, when that happens and I successfully swerve to avoid a collision, as my adrenaline level starts to recede, I think to myself, “Oh my, I think I just did something I haven’t done since I was five years old.”
The prayer I’m referring to is planned prayer, the type of prayer that is not adrenaline-fueled panic prayer. My favorite prayer routine is the Rosary. I downloaded mp3 audio files of the different mysteries of the Rosary onto a flash drive, and I can play them through my car’s sound system.
Also, there are dozens of great religious podcasts that can be downloaded and listened to whenever you want. One of my favorites is Fr. Dwight Longenecker.
It really helps get my day off on the right foot when I pray the Rosary early in the morning while driving to my first meeting. There are also many good Christian radio stations that have inspiring music and terrific religious teachings. The best one, of course, is WJMJ, 88.9 on your FM dial, the radio station of the Archdiocese of Hartford. (“Where faith meets life!”)
The only problem with my prayer plans is that there are so many other options, I sometimes get tempted to skip the praying and listen to something else. So, just like every other aspect of my life, temptation is a never-ending struggle.
To give you an idea, my car is nothing special, just an economy model Chevy Equinox. But like most newer cars these days, it has a ridiculous amount of audio options: satellite radio, regular radio, mp3 files, and all the music and audio content on my iPhone played via Bluetooth.
Here’s how old I am: when I was in high school, I had wooden crates filled with vinyl record albums. Then when I entered college, I started collecting 8-track tapes in big cardboard boxes. By the time I graduated, I had a bunch of shoe boxes filled with cassette tapes. Then it was CDs, and dozens more shoe boxes. If I had kept all that music over the years, I bet it could fill a two-car garage. But now, I have at least ten times more music, all stored on a little memory chip inside my cell phone. And there’s still enough room on that chip to store a couple dozen full-length movies and thousands of photographs.
I have no idea how the technology wizards made that possible, but I sometimes laugh at the sheer volume of audio and video content at our fingertips nowadays.
Anyway, I don’t really need high-tech electronics to have a good prayer life. I can just turn off the audio system in the car and count the Rosary prayers on my ten fingers. The important thing is to pray every day. If you spend a lot of time each day in your car, use some of that time to pray. Also, watch out for crazy BMW drivers. And if you’re my age, always know where the nearest public restroom is located.