Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Car-Free in Tennessee Testimony of Integrity and Simplicity

Today Carmac and Zed will be going with me to Senators Corker and Alexander's offices for another "Peaceful Assembly" with several of our Quaker and Mothers Acting Up friends. We've already missed the earlier bus that would have gotten us there on time (I got the reminder email at 9:07 when I was still in my jammies-not enough time to get us all ready, dressed and walk to the bus stop for the 10:00 bus). The next bus is at 11:00. We'll get to the assembly about an hour late but better than not at all.

I want to write a little about this car-free experiment. I think it's becoming part of my simplicity and integrity testimonies.
But first, I think I want to explore what a testimony is...

I was raised Baptist. I'd always known a testimony to be an example for others to use as a guide. When a person "shared their testimony" it was always about how they'd been "sinners" and been "redeemed" by God's grace. Witnessing was always about calling people to Jesus, always about salvation.

What I'm doing with going car-free is very personal. Right now, this exploration is about my relationship with my world and God's world. I enjoy walking. I enjoy being close to the earth, to my neighborhood, to people. When I walk out the front door and get in my car and drive to the parking garage and enter a building, I'm not connected to anything except my immediate chore. But when I walk out my front door and across my lawn and onto the street, I'm immediately connected to my world. I hear the birds. I see that there's trash that's blown into the ditch by my mailbox that needs picked up. I wave at my neighbors as they drive by me (looking quizzically or with sympathy-sometimes turning around to offer us rides). Last week as we were walking home, my boys were leaning over a bridge looking at the creek when a beautiful teal duck flew out from under the bridge startling us and the duck. I feel the wind on my skin and really appreciate the warmth of the sunshine when I'm walking to the bus stop. I am aware of time passing in a way that's intimately connected to my body-I walk faster when I'm running late rather than speeding (which is healthier?!). My life is enhanced when I walk. I am grateful for roads and engines when I walk because I can imagine how long a trip downtown would have taken before there was the Bordeaux bridge, before there were so many cars.
So, going car-free is not, currently anyway, a testimony of example. Right now, this experiment is about me finding my balance with what is right for me in this modern world. God gave me feet, hands, ears and eyes. God also gave me the ability to make money. Right now, at this point, taking a job so that I can pay for a car does not feel right (although I will soon be working a job that requires me to drive extensively). Right now, getting closer to my world and my body feels right.

It's 10:23: Time to go catch the bus. More later!

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