open gates

i seriously considered not sharing this story, but since one of my goals for the year is greater transparency, here we are. happy-ness: in all of its silly, blonde-moment glory.

i will defend myself by saying that i did not know that the I-Pass and E-Z-Pass are the same thing. it seems to me that it all ought to have the same name if it's all the same thing. (and, by the way, the "fast lane" in Massachusetts is also the same thing, tho i learned that later.)

so i pull up to the first tollbooth in Ohio and i get in the "ticket" lane, and when i pull up to the toll booth, the gate goes up. but i do not have an "EZ-Pass" (or so i think) and so i assume that the gate has malfunctioned. (please keep in mind that it's been about 10 years since i took the toll roads to New England, and things have changed, as you laugh about this!)

the automated toll booth refuses to give me a ticket, and i don't know what to do, because i know (or think i know) that if i don't get a ticket now i will be in trouble on the far end of the tollway, and i am too honest to do this the wrong way. so i push the button for help, as the line of cars behind me lengthens and people start honking in irritation.

finally, a very nice woman comes across the highway and asks how she can help me. i explain that it won't give me a ticket, and she asks if i have a transponder. i'm sure the look of surprise on my face when i learned that I-Pass and EZ-Pass are pretty much the same thing convinced her that i honestly had no clue, and she was really nice about it, but she said, "it's fine. the gate goes up and you go thru." that's how it works, and i knew that, but i thought there was a mistake about the gate. talking to God about it later, i think honestly He was pleased that i was too honest to try to pull through without being sure it was okay - tho i did feel a little silly. but i learned something in that moment.

open gates are meant to be gone thru. the gates referred to in the Bible are often either city gates or the gates of the Lord's temple - and when they are open, people go thru, and when they are shut, they are meant to keep people out. In Isaiah 60:18, God says that we will call our walls salvation and our gates praise, and as I thought about that, driving thru Ohio, i realized that often i do not treat praise as the open gate that it is to God's presence. but it's true, isn't it? that when we praise Him for who He is and for what He's done in our lives, we stop thinking so much about ourselves and our vision is so much clearer for having looked on Him for awhile.

God also names his gates, and one of the gates in the temple in Jerusalem was called Beautiful. Beauty is an open gate to His temple - and there is so much beauty everywhere, if we will just slow down enough to notice it. Beauty ushers us into His presence, and whether it's the beauty of creation, or the beauty of watching two people in love look at each other, or the beauty of a tremendous musical composition - these too are gates into His presence. And when the gate is open, you're supposed to go through it.

And this is life. I need to be more on the lookout for open gates than I have been, and when I find them - I need to go through. Without hesitation.

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