Something struck me this week as I read about the trip that Jesus took with his disciples on foot from Bethsaida (near the Sea of Galilee) where he healed a blind man to the villages of Caesarea Philippi (Mark 8:27-30).
He took the opportunity to ask his disciples who people said he was and they offered various answers: John the Baptist, Elijah, one of the prophets. Then he went deeper. “Who do you say that I am?”
Peter, who was usually quick to speak, spoke up and answered correctly. “You are the Christ.”
What struck me about this was the fact that it took place on a road trip that would’ve been maybe 25 miles long. If they were walking at a leisurely pace of say 2.5 miles per hour, it would’ve taken them ten hours to reach their destination, giving them plenty of time to talk.
Something about being shoulder to shoulder with somebody with a long stretch of road in front of you makes it easy to go deep in conversation.
Maybe it’s because you don’t have to look the other person in the eye. Maybe it’s the lack of distractions. Or maybe it’s the rush of freedom from routines that relaxes us enough to have meaningful conversations with one another.
This has certainly been my experience.
A friend and I used to listen to sermons in the car on 200-mile car trips we took to a baseball stadium. That always led to great spiritual conversations afterward.
Several years ago, a friend invited me to a college baseball game after church. We jumped into his vehicle and had a spiritual conversation. I can’t remember what we spoke about. I only remember that afterward, I wondered if maybe I’d been a little too real since his son and one of this friends were with us and heard what we said.
“Not at all,” he said. “I want my sons to hear conversations like this.” In fact, he said, it’s one of the reasons he goes to such events.
A little over a year ago, a friend moved from a small town in central Nebraska to my city on the eastern side of the state and he needed to go back one last time to close his bank account and handle a couple of other things. I jumped at the chance to go with him that Saturday morning, nearly inviting myself. Okay, inviting myself. But it, too, led to a spiritual conversation.
Maybe we should be a little more intentional about planning trips with people—or at the very least, taking advantage of them when the opportunities arise.