Lessons from the road

Brothers and Sisters in Christ:

I drive for a living, sort of. I average 2 hours a day, I’m not complaining, it’s part of my life based on where I live and where I work! In fact, I have driven “for work” all my professional life. I went to college at Indiana University (one hour from Indianapolis where I lived) and remember the drives back and forth to Bloomington with my college roommate buddy. My first job was as a Regional Consultant based out of Atlanta where I traveled the country by air and by highway. I then moved to outside sales for a giftware company. In those days, pre-computer, I lugged around my samples and sold store to store.

I traveled the state of Indiana for that job, selling gifts, stuffed animals, and the now-famous troll dolls!! I was promoted to a Regional Sales Manager and began to travel a two state area between Indiana and Kentucky. I eventually lived in Kentucky for a few years and still commuted back to Indiana.

I moved to  new home construction sales and had long drives to the subdivisions where I was placed. Years later as I began my ministry career attending Trinity Lutheran Seminary located in Columbus, Ohio where for three years I had a weekly 6 hour round trip drive!

11 years later after living locally near the church’s I pastored, I began the Crawfordsville (where I live) to Indianapolis/Brazil commute. I’ve learned a lot about life from behind the wheel:

*guys in older model pick-up trucks always have their left elbows out the window…

*I chuckle when I see the prison signs followed by the inevitable “don’t pick up hitchhikers” sign….

*dogs love to hang their head out the window, cats not so much…

*no matter how “clean” the rest area looks, it always feels dirty to me….

*billboards are now mostly electronic, flashing multiples messages at us. I love the one I saw once “Ignore your teeth, they’ll go away!”

*motorcyclists on highways seem to be taking a risk with their lives…

*there is usually an abandoned car on the side of the road somewhere..…

And for more than 30 years I haven’t had any major accidents or problems in bad weather during all this commuting. And I appreciate knowing now, that no matter where we go, how we get there, or what happens Emmanuel (God with us) (Matthew 1:23) is always there! Be blessed this week, drive safely, and enjoy life, God has the wheel!!!

Come travel to northern Ohio and join your VdC family for the Annual Gathering! It’s never too late, come and be with us!


Pr. Doug


Evil is a choice. — Spiritual Director thought for the week

I came home after church yesterday and just wanted to relax a bit before taking on the afternoon chores, yard work, etc. I turned on the national news and learned of the incredible devastation in Orlando at the Pulse nightclub. Lest we doubt that evil is alive and well, this is proof evil is. This is a very hard concept for people to understand, including myself.

Evil is a choice. We have been granted free will and we have choices we can make and we do that every day. We can choose our attitude, our personality to some degree, we choose what we say and how we act. This week especially talk with those close to you about these events. Talking helps us process. Guard how much of the news you watch/read because you can easily become overwhelmed.

In times of high stress like this it is important to stay on your normal routine, to rest, to pray to God and rest in God’s loving embrace. That is the same Embrace being given to Orlando today and those affected. This is the same Embrace that holds us close when we are scared, and cannot make sense out of life. But we must move forward.

Give blood, donate, pray, and reach out in any way that you can. Hug your family, tell them you love them, and continue to live. After all, the opposite of “evil” is “live”. Please talk with your Pastor or Spiritual Director if you feel “stuck” or need help processing this event.

Peace be with our country, leaders, and those responding to this crisis and the families and loved ones,

Pastor Doug


Happy Father’s Day ! Remember, Dad, our job is to follow Paul’s advice in Thessalonians 5:11 “Let us encourage one another”. Encourage your children and grandchildren no matter their age!!


A Little Privacy Please

I just want to drop off my recycled items by myself, just once! This may sound weird, but the recycling facility in my town is the busiest place ever. I have dropped by at all hours of the day, evening, weekends and evenholidays, and there is always, always someone else there! Now I realize it’s  not my private domain but the area where the bins are located is relatively small. Once back into your car you cannot see on the other side what the driver next to you is doing!

Yesterday around 5:30 I ran a few errands in town and everything was quiet. On my way home I stop at the recycling place to drop off my items. The car in front of me also pulls in, and there is someone next to the bin already dropping off her stuff! I start to unload my trunk when an older woman pulls up next to me, hops out and tosses her bag into the bin. For her to do that she steps in front of my car and takes her time dumping out her bag, in the same spot in the bin where I was tossing in! I had to wait a second for her to finish before I could continue! I just want, one time, one time is all I’m asking, to drop by and not have anyone else around!!

Well, we all recycle and thank God we have a place we can drop off things in town. But don’t you feel “crowded” sometimes? I mean I know we have to share space with 6+ billion other people on the planet, but I like a little bit of privacy. Last evening I stepped out on my porch to refill bird feeders. Again, maybe it was my mood, but I just wanted to be left alone a minute. My neighbor pops out for a smoke on the porch and wants to chat. I know, I know, love thy neighbor.

So I couldn’t find any private space yesterday except of course in my home. I know God is the God of crowded places as well as in private. I am thankful that my best “God moments” are mine, and mine alone mostly enjoyed in privacy and quiet. Take some time out today, this week, to find your quiet, private space and enjoy your time with God! There is nothing to “recycle” with the Lord, as God makes all things new!


Pastor Doug



Road Rage

Road rage is a growing epidemic. The CBS show “Sunday morning” had a special on it this past Sunday and there is another road rage incident caught on camera in today’s national news! I once had a “road rage” incident several years ago. The driver in front of me thought that I had obviously followed too closely. When we arrived at the stoplight he hopped out and came back to speak in some “unkind” language! I had no idea and really don’t think I was tailgating but it was scary.

What is it with us? Are we really always angry? What is our hurry? I mean with technology today we can always call ahead and alert someone we will be late. The response of “road rage” seems out of order because the offense is usually not worthy of that type of anger. But I think a lot of people drive with their stress, frustrations of life, and problems pushing the pedal! Whenever I’m cut off, or someone angers me in driving, I try and think what they must be going through. Maybe they are on their way to the hospital for a dying spouse, or parent or something like that. Perhaps they just got devastating news from a spouse who no longer wants to be married….there are countless possibilities.

Because I commute so much I know the feeling of frustration when other drivers don’t drive like me!!  We cannot move cars out of our way, we can’t influence the other driver really, we have to focus on the control of our own car. And that’s a great analogy for life. We can’t control others, we cannot make people act like we want them to act. Ultimately, we have no control.

Father Tim, from the Mitford Series by Jan Karon, says the prayer that never fails is “thy will be done!” Really that’s all we want, isn’t it? Thy will be done, O Lord, in my personal and professional life, and for those I love and care about. Thy will be done! And slow me down while driving and, in fact, slow me down in my life, Lord! Amen!


  1. DOUG