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Arrive Alive

I'm a "by the book" driver. I obey all of the traffic laws and regulations, including the posted speed limits. Cars are constantly passing me, some of whom the drivers scowl at the old "fuddy-duddy" (I turn 50 this year) for "getting in their way" by my driving the speed limit.

That has not always been the case. For a few years in my early 20s, I drove, as a matter of habit, a bad habit, too fast. Much too fast. I was a driving fool, something that ended in the early 1970s at about the same time, thanks to a certain man in California, that I began studying, and believing, the Holy Bible.

The result, as all speeders learn, is speeding tickets, of which I had a few back then (I've had none in over 25 years since), including one very big one, for doing 115 miles per hour (I was actually doing about 125, but was officially "clocked" as I was starting to slow down) on a 60 mile per hour freeway (I use miles per hour because it happened before Canada changed to the metric system in the early 1970s). It happened when a friend and I were curious to see if someone could drive from where we lived near Brantford, Ontario to my sister's home in Quebec, near Montreal, a distance of a little over 400 miles, in less than 4 hours.

Such a trip would be impossible (400 miles, 2 or 3 stops for gas and engine checks, in less than 4 hours) except for 2 factors that we used to our advantage: the 401 freeway that runs through southern Ontario from Windsor, Ontario (across the river from Detroit, Michigan) to the Quebec border, and that I happened to have what was known in the late 1960s and early 1970s as a "muscle car" (today I drive a very conservative Plymouth Voyager "family" van). If you were into that sort of thing back then (and survived - did I say how foolish it is?) then you probably know what terms like "hemi" and "headers" mean.

We left at a little after 2 am on the lightest traffic night of the week so that we would have a nearly wide open freeway - very little traffic on the multi-lane freeway that would permit us to get safely past them at high speed (our version of "safely" was of course based on our youthful foolishness - it was not safe at all). Driving at 125 miles per hour is surreal. Widely-spaced guard rails appear as a solid blur, cars that are doing the speed limit of 60 or 70 miles per hour appear parked when they are passed at nearly double their speed, and one must keep one's attention to things at least a half mile ahead and beyond because at that speed there is no time to physically or mechanically react to anything much closer (I repeat again, it was very foolish and dangerous).

The ticket came from an Ontario Provincial Police officer (equivalent to a State Trooper in the US) who was patrolling the 401 through Toronto in a semi-marked police car (marked, but no flashing lights on top) who was passed by what he described as a "rocket," which he "pursued" (which isn't actually what it was; I wasn't running from anyone, and I pulled over immediately when I saw that it was a police cruiser, that were also "muscle cars," that was trying to catch up to us) for nearly 5 miles before getting close enough that I happened to see his small interior flashing light in my rear view mirror (like I said, at that speed, one concentrates much more on what's ahead, not behind). He expressed amazement in that he said that it was the first time that he ever saw someone carefully signalling lane changes at over 120 miles per hour. The ticket stop took about 20 minutes, during which he checked and saw that our records were clean, that we weren't "wanted" for anything, that I wasn't impaired, and that we really had been doing what I plainly and honestly told him. His last words to me were "be more careful" (no doubt meaning drive at the speed limit, not watch more carefully for police cars) and off we went on the remainder of our journey.

I thank God that I stopped driving too fast, and that no one was ever injured, or killed, because of it. Whenever someone goes speeding past me now, as people do very often, if I happen to mutter the word fool, it's not that speeder that I'm talking to; it's to myself from when I used to do the same.

"let us run with patience the race that is set before us"

Holy Bible Although the apostle Paul sometimes described Christianity as a race, he wasn't talking about high speed or selfishly being "ahead." He was talking about a race in which all who cross the finish line are winners, whether they cross "first" or "last." What matters is to arrive alive, by obeying all of the "traffic laws" (see The First Commandment, The Second Commandment, The Third Commandment, The Fourth Commandment, The Fifth Commandment, The Sixth Commandment, The Seventh Commandment, The Eighth Commandment, The Ninth Commandment and The Tenth Commandment) - not only to insure one's own arriving alive, but so as to not endanger or prevent others from winning too.

"Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God." (Hebrews 12:1-2 KJV)

"And He sat down, and called the twelve, and saith unto them, If any man desire to be first, the same shall be last of all, and servant of all." (Mark 9:35 KJV)

"And they shall come from the east, and from the west, and from the north, and from the south, and shall sit down in the Kingdom of God. And, behold, there are last which shall be first, and there are first which shall be last." (Luke 13:29-30 KJV)

Fact Finder: Is Jesus Christ the "first and the last"?
Revelation 22:13

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