Life and death, and “Skol, Vikings!”

Last week will go down as a landmark on my life’s timeline. For anyone who saw my recent post about having a gun pointed at me, you’ll know what I’m talking about. And for those that missed it, you can click this link to be caught up, or… to make a long story short, a fellow motorist driving aggressively pulled up next to me as we were moving down a Nashville road and used his gun to make his feelings known more clearly.

For a few days after that brazen encounter, I had a headache which is very out of the ordinary for me. My head hurt because the brazen encounter took time to truly sink in. This happened. I could’ve been hurt.

What was I thinking?

More questions than I have answers for continue scrolling through my mind; did he try to pull the trigger and it malfunctioned? What was he thinking in that moment? Was it a 9mm or a .22? Why was he so aggressive? I’ll never know how drastically my life would have changed if the gun had gone off and I was struck by the bullet, or something less painful like the bullet just hitting my car. As close as he was, we were maybe 15 feet from each other, the chances of him hitting his target were pretty high. What if I died that day? What if I was shot, but didn’t die? Who would I rely on for help? Who would care for my dogs?

The bottom line truth is this: even though he didn’t pull the trigger, my life has changed forever. I guess it would be presumptuous to say exactly how because only time will tell, and right now I don’t know all the ways my life will be different from this one random afternoon. I do know the way I drive will be different. God only knows what the future would’ve looked like had things turned out worse, so I’m taking this as a warning to think before I act, and a gigantic blessing that I have another chance to correct my course, if that makes sense. A do-over. A reset. A fail but with no major penalties.

So that was the first half of the week. Then I found out an acquantance of mine passed away very unexpectedly. He’s a friend and fellow filmmaker with a couple of my friends, and someone I worked with on a huge project from 2015 to 2017. The news hit my two friends hard. They were close to him, and though I didn’t know him as well as they did, my heart became heavy the instant I found out. I’m sad for his family, I’m sad for my friends. It doesn’t make sense when such a great person takes an early exit, and we who are left behind are the ones who lose because of it. It’s hard to come up with something positive in circumstances like this, because the best scenario is one where he isn’t gone, but something cool happened on Sunday that I’m believing is a silver lining, a little gift from above that is sweet in it’s own little way. This guy was the biggest Minnesota Vikings fan this side of Heaven, and yesterday the Vikings pulled off a win in the final seconds of their playoff game, and it was pretty unbelievable. I won’t give a play by play recap, but they won on a last second, 61-yard touchdown pass as the seconds ticked down to end the game. I heard on the radio that right before the play started, the Vikings had roughly a 6% chance of winning the game. It was only that high because they were down by 2 so a field goal would’ve won it. But with 10 seconds to go and no time outs, 60 yards away from the end zone, TVs were being shut off across the country. The game was over. But uh uh uh, not so fast! Hike, drop back, launch, a catch and a sprint to the end zone for the win! It was a highly improbable ending, but so, so sweet. The biggest Vikings fan on that side of Heaven was jumping up and down, I’m certain.

Now another week has already started and I’m very curious about how it’ll unfold. I wouldn’t mind a week where nothing happens, a week that is so forgettable that I already forgot it and it hasn’t even happened yet. But if it turns into a week where God teaches me something, not to mention where He might have in fact intervened to save my life and my way of life, I would count that as a win, too.

And another Minnesota win would be pretty nice, too. Skol, Vikings!

-Out of the Wilderness


…and then he pulled a gun on me

*After you read this, check out part 2 of the story here*

Yesterday was an eventful day, and the most notable was when I was exiting the interstate and noticed the car behind me swerving as if he was in a real hurry to get around me. The exit breaks into two lanes so I wasn’t too worried about it, knowing in a second he’d veer to my left side to take that lane. But no, that wasn’t good enough for him. He swerved out to the right, passing me on the outside shoulder of the road. Classy. Here’s a video.

Sadly, behavior like this is not totally out of the ordinary for people suffering from road rage. I take it personally, and that’s on me. So with this guy, I wasn’t going to just lay down. I pulled in front of him, as you can see in the video, and when he moved to go around me, I jerked my car over to block him. He then attempts to go around me on the other side, so I checked him on that side, though, I didn’t move in front of him.

Around the 0:24 mark is when he pulls up beside me. I was giving him a sarcastic thumbs up as he approached. When I glanced over, he wasn’t holding up a thumb to me, it was a gun. As soon as it registered in my brain, I flinched pretty hard. In the video, this moment happens just after 0:24 when I swerve into the turn lane. He slowed down and I kept going, and it was over.

Wow. This was an intense moment that took a while to come down from. I clearly should’ve let it go way before it got to that level, I mean, this could’ve changed the rest of my life. He would be so stupid to have actually used his gun, but there are plenty of stupid people in the world, and he very easily could’ve pulled the trigger. He’s already familiar with how it feels to be a low life, so why would I assume he has any sense at all?

I’m thankful nothing worse happened, and I’ll definitely be thinking twice the next time I feel like it’s my duty to antagonize someone like this.

-Out of the Wilderness

Driving by the Golden Rule

In church today we discussed the meaning of the parable Jesus uses in Mark 4, which says in part, “By the measure you use, it will be measured and added to you.” To translate, it’s the Golden Rule, “Treat others the way you want to be treated.”

I didn’t feel convicted until I thought about my experience on the road. Not necessarily how I drive, but my attitude while I’m driving. I’m very decisive (totally opposite of how I am normally, which is quirky), and in turn I expect every other driver to be decisive, too.

With that in mind, here’s the catch: I don’t extend much grace or forgiveness to any other drivers, but I expect it in full from them.

Basically I act like I’m right you’re wrong, and if you can’t make a decision just get out of the way. I also get angry, anxious, impatient, perturbed, fed up when motorists think laws don’t apply to them. I’m very legalistic when it comes to obeying the rules of the road. Check out Steve McQueen here…

In the moments following this Hell’s Angel’s disregard for the law, nothing I thought about was very Golden Rulish.

So now I have something to work on while I’m in the car. Extending grace. Forgiving these inferior drivers. Not honking so much. Hitting the brakes to let someone make up for their idiotic decision.

I know there’s a place for administering justice and correction, so I guess I can be praying for discretion and discernment on which battles to fight, and which to let go.

-Out of the Wilderness

I promise I’m not a confrontational person… usually

I am a pretty passive person, I’ll admit. I’m not one to confront people and I’m ok with that. But when I see folks being lazy at the wheel or breaking laws on the road, sometimes the monster comes out. Maybe on the flag football field, soccer field, or basketball court, too, but we won’t get into that right now 🙂

Today I was in my own neighborhood going a little less than the speed limit (which is 35 on the particular road where this incident occurred) and this flippin’ fart sniffer just had to go around me. What ticked me off even more is where I found him a couple minutes later… take a look:

Yeah, this ding dong was in such a hurry to get to church! Way to go, Seabiscuit. I was as nice as I could be when I told him not to drive like that through my neighborhood. He was quiet for about 2 seconds then said, “…OK,” and drove off.

What a booger munch.

-Out of the Wilderness

5 reasons drivers can’t just chhiiiilllllllllllll

If you live in a big city (think Atlanta, NYC, Los Angeles, etc), you probably already know exactly how this blog is gonna go. Traffic is the worst, right? Afternoon rush hour has turned into afternoon rush afternoon here in Nashville. Especially if you throw rain into the mix, or, ya know, just the threat of gentle spring shower. FREAK OUT!
Fangirl GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY
And don’t try to pick up bread and milk at a grocery story, because the shelves will already be empty! But there’s more to the traffic problem and no peanut butter and jelly sandwiches than just precipitation. Here in Nashville, we have the problems a lot of growing cities have: construction (some say the state bird is the crane), school zones, plus area population growing by more than 100 people per day.


Cranes, cranes, and more cranes! (credit: Nathan Morgan – Nashville Business Journal)

My top 5 reasons traffic is the way it is…

Bumper to Bumper the avenue was packed.
-Vanilla Ice

1. Construction. If you visit downtown Nashville anytime between 8am and forever, you’re going to get stuck behind 30 cars, a dump truck, and a lane that’s closed off.

2. Population growth. As mentioned, the population is growing by over 100 a day. Most are folks moving here, so I guess some are babies being born. They don’t account for the bad traffic, but give it 16 years and watch out.

3. Weather. Lots of this makes lots of traffic.

4. Hello road rage. People are angry. When bottlenecks, slowdowns, and stupidity happen on the road, people get mad. Mad people make quick decisions. This often leads to mistakes. I give you, Exhibit A. Watch the dark sports car in the far left lane. This accident was caused by a dump truck abruptly slowing down for no apparent reason.
People making decisions out of sheer rage can often lead to even more traffic problems. This also leads directly into the next cause…

5. People think rules don’t apply to them.

These drivers might not directly cause bad traffic, but when their driving leads to wrecks, police involvement, or when they cut ahead of people, traffic is affected.

So here are the takeaways:
1. Everyone just needs to chhillllllllllll. It’s all gonna be OK.

2. Stop moving to Nashville. It’s not that great and the traffic is horrible. 😉

3. If you live in a city or town where traffic gets bad, leave earlier than you originally planned.

-Out of the Wilderness