A few weeks ago, I was intrigued by a worship thought given by one of my MAU colleagues, Kris Sisodia. He had just returned from a visit in India, and had a lot of great photos and travel anecdotes that came together into practical worship thoughts. The first “thought” was my favorite, though. Our story takes place on the modern roadways of India.
Kris explained that the roads themselves are freeway-quality, comparable to many of the US’s major cities. 6 lanes, overpasses, exits, and the suburban streets are set up similarly as well. Rather nice.
Full of traffic, though. Just like here.
The best way to tell if you are in US traffic or India traffic, however, is probably the cows and the oxcarts.
Yup. You’ll see the carts and cows along the roadway, sharing the same turnpike as the Corollas, Accords and Malibus. The usually go much slower, so if you’re driving by, you’ll probably want to get around them. But that can be hard to do when the traffic is like this:
Basically, these parts of India are perfect examples of traffic anarchy. You may notice how there are lane markers, but no one is following them. There are no vehicle-type restrictions, and some people choose to just walk along the road. Not to mention, if the cows wander out onto the road, you can’t do anything to them. The cows are sacred, and must not be disturbed. Oh, and there are traffic signals, but good luck trying to go through your green light when three other cars are running their red light without a blink of an eye.
Also, Kris noted that many people still invested in nice cars. You might see BMWs and Mercedes and higher-end Toyotas, but usually the fastest you could ever get to go on these roads is about 35-40 mph….if you’re lucky. With this traffic anarchy, it doesn’t matter how fast you want to go. The cops aren’t going to stop you—but the traffic is. So all the money spent on these high-performance vehicles is pretty much wasted.
Oh, and they do have traffic rules. They even post signs of encouragement
It’s just that no one seems to follow them, no matter how nice the signs are.
Now Kris hardly had to summarize the symbolism in this part of his travelogue before we were all nodding our heads and saying, “ah yes, I see the connection here.”
Life is like a roadway in India.
The obvious lesson here is that the freedom to drive from A to B is increased when rules are enacted and followed. The less the rules are heeded, the less ability there is to drive safely, comfortably and even quickly!
Though some may associate anarchy with freedom, it’s not long before individual freedom is yanked away by all the other people trying to do things their own way. And we end up in a traffic jam.
In ways like this, the laws actually set us free, rather than restrict us.
I finally read Lord of the Flies last month. Cale was going over it in his sophomore literature class, and since I had never even picked it up before, I decided it was high time. The balance of rules vs freedom, of practicality vs more carnal desires, was the common theme throughout the story. People end up wanting rules. The total freedom that some twist into anarchy causes discord and fear, and people end up craving rules. Craving regulation. Yearning for order.
I’ll let y’all draw your own conclusions on how this fits into our daily lives, and our beliefs.
“To all perfection I see a limit;
but Your commands are boundless.
Oh, how I love your law!
I meditate on it all day long.
Your commands make me wiser than my enemies…”
Psalm 119: 96-98
(All photos taken by Kris. He was nice enough to share them with me.)