Henry was full of topics for me to write about during our road-trip drive. I guess there’s nothing like many hours in the car, staring out the window and watching passing scenery, to get you thinking about the bigger picture and questions of life.

Perhaps because he celebrated a milestone birthday during our trip, Henry watched all the cars passing him by and posed this question (Is the world passing you by?) as a good blog-post topic. It is—a good question, that is. There is a lot in this world that passes us by…and I’m not sure we should assume that’s a bad thing.

Once upon a time, I did want to travel in the fast lane. I wanted to do it all, experience “everything life had to offer.” Literally, of course, that’s impossible. We are constantly—even daily—making choices that lead us down one road rather than another. Even choosing the particular route for our daily commute or trip to the grocery store may take us in or out of traffic jams, accidents, or a glimpse of sunset beauty we otherwise would have missed.

NewYorkCityPassingByShirinMcArthurShortly after Henry asked that question, we ended up in a massive Oklahoma City traffic jam—on a Saturday, no less! For a couple of hours, the only traffic passing us by was going in the opposite direction! During this road trip, we eventually found ourselves on both sides of that experience—either being stuck in unmoving traffic or flying by on the other side, having pity for the poor souls who were caught in a long line going nowhere. At one point, we actually flew through the middle of Manhattan—in the rain!

These days I seldom think about what’s passing me by. Frankly, I’d rather be focused on what I’m doing and what I’m called to do, rather than comparing myself with others. That’s been a big and important—and long-time-coming—shift for me. I have made a lot of comparisons between myself and others over the course of my life, feeling frustrated with what I’ve not been able to experience or enjoy. At this point, I’m usually content to discern what I’m called to do today and take small steps toward those larger goals.

Do you worry about the world passing you by? Does it frustrate you that others seem to get ahead? Might it help to remember the times when you’ve been the one flying by? Can you focus on your particular calling instead of the path that others take?

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