Forging Your Way Through the Chaos
Driving in Mexico is really all about forging you way through the chaos. This is how I described it to some friends the other day as we went for a 10 minute drive to though downtown Chapala, encountering a wide variety of obstacles along the way that spiced up the ride. Multiple cars doing a dance through ill-defined intersections marked by battered signs (or no signs at all) on road pocked with gargantuan pot holes when you least expect them. Drivers with “a better idea” of how they can get where they are trying to go. Fruit trucks going 2 miles per hour, blasting their vocal presentation and prices by loud speaker turned up to a few decibals higher than the maximum. Buses—those sharks of the road that have been on this road so many times NOTHING phases them—and their driving shows it!
I love it! I remember my first drive ever in Mexico City–1986. Our host was pastor Calderon, who had picked us Stasia and I up at the airport (8 hours late!), and piled us, along with 6 month old daughter Brittany, and our huge load of luggage into his rickety station wagon. Off we went, on “Mr. Calderon’s wild ride” to a little suburb 90 minutes away. It seemed like a race for our lives at just about every intersection and turn-off. He apologized more than once at the close calls we encountered, but assured us he had everything under control. That night we had road nightmares.
One of my favorite memories came 7 years later. I was leading a group of 15 Australians on an outreach through Mexico. We flew into San Diego from Sydney, rented a couple of white Dodge Caravans, and drove from San Diego, through the border crossing at Nogales, Arizona all the way to Guadalajara for a week then Mexico City for a week, and then back to San Diego. It was a blast. The Aussies were so much fun to be with, and none of them had ever seen anything like the roads of Mexico!
When we finally arrived in the outskirts of Mexico City, we encountered this massive intersection. It was something like a 7 way stop with a humongous open circle in the center. You couldn’t call it a roundabout because there was nothing in the center of the circle. This intersection seemed to invite all cars, any cars, to “take the dare” and try to cross. No exaggeration: there were probably 100 cars coverging slowly through that intersection. Massive gridlock. We all creeped a few inches at a time as we forged through the chaos to get to the road we thought would get us where we wanted to go. I was driving one of the vans.
Suddenly, out of nowhere in the bright sunlight, a shadow formed over the windshield that lasted a micro-second giving way to a thud as a soaking wet towel plopped onto the windshield’s passenger side. It was immediately followed by two skinny little brown guys—one on each side who planted themselves on the front fenders of our slow moving vehicle and proceeded to scrub the windshield clean, no questions asked—that is, until the job was done! We tipped them, and with a great big smile they were on their way the next vehicle. It was so congested in that intersection that the only way these little guys could get out was to wash their way out! (I later came t know first hand that these little window washers, found all over Mexico City, were street kids who live in vacant lots and sewer lines, sniffed glue all day, and washed windows for sheer survival. We had the opportunity to spend a week ministering to them later in the trip and in following years.)
Telling these stories reminds me of what it is like to follow God in the world we live in. We must be ready to forge our way through the chaos and rely on him to get us through. We must cast our cares on Him and try not to take things too seriously. We must be ready for the little surprises along the way, where God will send angels into our path and we will be unaware of it at the time (Hebrews 13:2). We should ALWAYS buckle up with armor of God (Ephesians 6:13) and keep our eyes on the road before us (Hebrews 12:1-2)! And, like Keith Green used to say, “He’ll Take Care of the Rest!”