LCN Article
The Reason for the Rear View Mirror

March / April 2015

Jonathan McNair

I was traveling down the interstate when a most surprising thing happened. It was in the middle of a snowy day, which is actually not surprising, considering January weather in upstate New York. What was surprising was the cascade of snow, ice, and gravel that landed on our windshield just before we went under a bridge. A snowplow had been traveling along an overpass above us, pushing away a wave of snow. Our paths crossed, in a manner of speaking, and we were in the right place at the wrong time!

As I pulled to the side of the road, I could see that a spider web of cracks now covered the windshield. Thankfully, no other damage had been done to the van—except for the side view mirror, which had been totally smashed.

That brings me to the point of this story. For a small piece of equipment on a car, you might be surprised how much you rely on your side view mirror. When we drive (just as in life in general), we had better be looking out in front of us for most of the time—looking far down the road, then closer, as we scan for potential hazards and keep a focus on where we are going.

If we tried to drive by using only the rear view mirrors, we would have a hard (and unsafe) time driving forward.

But, used together, our rear view mirrors—both the primary mirror in front of us and the side view mirrors on the left and right—serve an essential purpose. In fact, on that snowy January day, I learned just how vital the side view mirror is. Without it, I had to turn my head around sharply to see what was happening beside me. Without the benefit of that mirror, making a move into the left lane while traveling at 65 miles an hour was a much more difficult undertaking.

The Spring Holy Day time of year is a time for Christians to adjust their focus. We must keep our eyes on the road, seeking God’s Kingdom above all. If we lose that focus, we can become discouraged. We can lose our way or wander off the road. We cannot travel down the road of our life navigating only with mirrors that show where we came from. We want to move forward. But, at the same time, we need to take stock occasionally—as we do at Passover time. We need to examine ourselves, as we read in 1 Corinthians. When we examine ourselves, we think about life, what is around us, what potential blind spots we need to consider, and what old habits may be creeping up from behind. We think of the lessons we have learned from the road behind us, and apply them to our life, moving forward.

In some ways, life is like a highway. And there is a reason for the rear view mirror.