Friday, November 2, 2018

In the Car

Written by  Celeste Woloschuk
Artist's interpretation of my car Artist's interpretation of my car

I think I pray the most when I’m driving. I pray when I go on road trips (as I leave and upon arrival), when I’m looking for parking spots (the Blessed Mother is my go to for this one), and especially when I’m… uh… frustrated with other drivers (though I really have to work hard to make sure that what I say is actually a prayer and not something else).

Of all the times I pray in my car (Balthazar), I think my favourite prayer (and the one I use the most) is my road trip prayer. This prayer was handed down from my parents; we’ve been saying it as a family for every long journey probably since before I was born. As soon as everyone was settled in their seats, cruise control was on and the city was only seen from the rear-view mirror, my Mom and Dad would turn off the radio and call us all together to pray. The ritual is of course scaled down when it’s only me, but it remains very similar.

The prayer starts with the sign of the cross and a simple “Thank you God for this day.” We then pray for what ever needs praying for – usually something is said about the weather (thanks for the sunshine or please send some rain); we pray for who ever we are visiting and for whatever they might need; and finally we pray for our protection for ourselves, for other travelers and for our home while we are away. We say an Our Father, three Hail Marys, the Glory Be, the Fatima prayer (O my Jesus), the Guardian Angel prayer and a Litany of the Saints, where we include Saints who’s names match (ish) those in our family, our parishes or our former schools. And when we arrive at our destination, as we turn the car off, a quiet ‘thank you God’ is uttered by someone.

This time of prayer has become very important to me – especially in the last 6 months during which time I inherited my brother’s old car and I started taking road trips by myself. My 15 minutes of prayer helps me to focus, to remind me of what is important (ie safety over speed – 15 minutes less travel time isn’t worth my life), to stay calm and it even helps me to feel safer. It honestly feels like deer make smarter decisions and the weather pulls more in my favour when I pray at the start of a trip. I have also made short, spontaneous prayers during the trip when things made me nervous – like the time I drove toward and then into a thunderstorm in the middle of the night or when I almost hit a deer on the way home from a funeral. But even in those times, I felt fortunate and protected – I only hit the thunderstorm about 30 minutes from the city and I almost hit the deer, I didn’t actually hit the deer.

And finally, times of prayer like this are important to me as they have helped to remind me that God is never far away. All I have to do it reach out with my heart, mind and soul – God will be for me and with me.

Thank you God for being there with me every step (and kilometer) of my journey in life. Saint Christopher, patron saint of travelers, pray for us.


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