I was driving the short bus for our high school choir yesterday, transporting them to their performances at four area nursing homes and the mall. One of the students, who is constantly peppering me with questions asked, “Mr. Sombke, do you like driving the bus?”
Without hesitation I said, “Oh yeah, I love driving the bus as long as the roads are dry and the visibility is good.”
It’s true, I really like driving, partly because I like being in control. When I’m driving with someone else it can be hard because they might not drive fast enough, follow too closely, or not go the “right” way. The exception is when I’m riding with someone to someplace unfamiliar; in that case, it’s a relief to not have to worry about being in control.
At the nursing homes, there were a lot of older people who were being wheeled down to the activity rooms to hear the kids sing. They had come to the point in their lives where they needed professional outside assistance. They were no longer independent, no longer in control. It was a little sad thinking about my own future and that of my own parents.
There are things in life that are simply beyond our control. As a dad, I don’t like that reality. I want to be able to control everything. As I contemplate need for control this Christmas season, I think of Joseph who was one dad who seemed to have control of very little. His fiancé gets pregnant; she leaves for six months to be with her elderly cousin; and then just as she gets home, Caesar summons everyone to head to their hometown to register, advanced pregnancy or not. We all know the rest of the story. The King is threatened by the baby and Joseph is told to take his family, head to Egypt and wait for word as to when he can bring them back home.
One of the reasons I like Christmas is that to me, Joseph is kind of the unsung hero of the story. Joseph just did what needed to be done. I think that is all that’s expected of any of us. What is it that needs to be done? Do what you need to do. Don’t fret over what you can’t control and enjoy the ride. I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy Holiday season.
Darren Sombke currently serves at the Director of Spritual Life at Rockford Lutheran School. He and his wife, Jungah, have been married for 19 years. They have two boys and two girls between the ages of 8 and 18. He is a proud tightwad and an avid Pittsburgh Steelers fan.