This morning I awoke at 4:30 AM with a text from a friend from British Columbia, sharing with me her support and encouragement in our ministry through Racing with the Reverend. I was already awake, mentally preparing for the day ahead, sorting out the challenges that I would be having, between odometer problems and my navigation inadequacies. In the hour that followed, before getting up for the day, I lay awake contemplating the lives of the names of those on the roof of our vehicles.
In the quietness of twilight, I realized that there is much transformation and transition that will occur for me after this week. I have met persons and families affected by autism; these persons I hold in my prayers, I remember the places they live and I recognize the care their families hold for each of them.
After sunrise we proceeded with the details and events of the day, which involved many transitions. We completed all our stages in various parts of the Burin Peninsula today, with transition stages of 100 km and 98km as we completed stages in North Harbour, Boat Harbour, Petite Forte, Harbour Mille, Black River, and Garden Cove. Halfway through the stages, the Targa officials decided to cancel a stage, and we had to drive out in a fast transit, with no scoring involved. When I inquired as to the reason, I was told that we needed to cancel the transition so that we would not affect children coming out of school in the next community. I was impressed. Here persons who had spent tens of thousands of dollars to compete in the International Motorsports event showed no anger nor resentment to the changes.
Further to this, I have been so impressed with the levels of care and compassion the drivers and co-drivers have had as they encounter young people and families in the communities we have traveled. Drivers and crew that seem handier with heavy tools and fast speeds seem to open up and show genuine interest and care with persons in these communities.
This speaks a lot to the versatility and adaptability of the persons competing in Targa. Apart from the various mathematical and technical adjustments that have to be made by drivers, co-drivers, and teams in the course of the stages, these individuals at times also have had to replace windshields, weld damaged sub-frames, duct tape lights and body panels.
In witnessing this, I reflected upon the difference between these competitors and those in the church community. How often do we have to deal in the transition stages of life? How often do we have to balance between what our expected goals are, and how we have to adjust to our changes in environment when encountering others? At times, the best times in church community, persons adjust to the ebb and flow of the challenges that occur in transitions. In the times between full sun and full darkness – in the twilight time, we are called to be versatile. We are called to be the glue that holds together the tattered parts of our goals, enabling something beautiful to emerge.
Sadly, some forms of Christian community tend not to be so versatile. They cannot adjust to time changes, odometer malfunctions, loose body panels, or cracked sub frames. I lament this, because in these times, the Christian community I love and serve doesn’t respond to the needs of those in its immediate environment. Perhaps we have much to learn as we explore the winding roads of Targa NL, and explore how this relates to our own journey of faith in this God’s beautiful creation.