This morning I was at a stoplight and I noticed the driver in the car in front of me waving. The direction of her wave seemed to be behind her, but I knew I didn’t know her so I didn’t wave back. Before I could reconsider my lack of friendliness, a very small hand appeared from her back seat and waved. A toddler was playing a game with the mother. The game of waving bye-bye continued and I smiled at the memories of my little ones in the back. It wasn't that long ago that I had a boy and a girl, only 16 months apart who played games with me from their car seats. Quick errands around town or dropping off at Mother's Day Out, it seems like forever ago that we sang songs or pulled off on the side of the road looking for the pacies that got away.
I watched the mother and child interract. The mom smiling in the rearview mirror. The tiny hands reaching above the seat to wave and clap. I was so peaceful in that moment. I cherished this precious time almost as much as I imagined the mom did. Suddenly, my happy feelings were gone. The mother exhaled and tapped a cigarette ash in a cloud of smoke out of the driver’s side window.
The shock of what I was seeing changed from anger into sadness rather quickly. I wasn't mad at the mom, I was saddened by the stronghold of addiction. I continued my drive to work replaying the two and half minute stoplight movie in my mind. I wanted to call my husband, tell my friend at work and make a Facebook post about what I had just seen. I'm embarrassed that I just typed that, but it's the truth.
Now before you get mad at me for writing about smokers, I don't mind if you smoke. I really don't. I was a smoker too and I smoked in my car. My favorite smoke of the day was the first one on a cool, crisp morning with a cup of coffee. Having one with a glass of wine was a close second. I'm not a smoker hater. It's really not a big deal to me. If you want to smoke, go ahead because you cannot deny the appeal of Kevin Bacon exhaling after a pull of beer in the movie Footloose. That scene curled my toes, Ariel.
But if you smoke in the car with a child you are chained to it. It's a stronghold. It's one of those things that you believe is stronger over you than you are with God's power. I'm asking you to get out of the ashes. I'm not telling you to stop smoking. I'm telling you to stop the chain of events. Make a good habit out of a bad habit. It IS possible to wait until your child is not in the car. We can wait. We can do better. Promise yourself and your child that your car becomes a non-smoking environment when they are in it. Just give yourself that ONE rule. If kids are in, then smokes are out. That's it. You can do it! Even if it takes you three hours longer to get to your destination because you are stopping at rest areas and McDonald's to get out of the car and have a smoke break. Your kids will remember all the stops you made because of your love for them. Do it out of love. You love them more than you love yourself. You love them more than you love your smokes. SHOW your child how you chose them over a smoke. Every day.
(Part of this post was originally written on September 7, 2012. It has been updated today.)
Seeds to Share:
Isaiah 61:3 - To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, *to give unto them beauty for ashes*, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified.