Thursday, September 24, 2009


I live about 12 miles away from where I work, which isn't all that far, I guess, really, but because of everything that is between Home and Church, it is very rare for me to get to work in less than half an hour. And then there's this five-minute block of time when, if I hit it just wrong, I end up behind all the school buses and all the other commuters such that if I would have left six minutes later, I probably would've gotten to work sooner.

Can you tell that happened to me today? Fortunately, I wasn't in a tearing hurry or anything. As I was not hurrying, and at the first intersection which is where all the cars get in front of me in the first place, this car . . . got in front of me. On the license plate was one word: Decide.

First I did that thing you do, you know, when you're an evangelical, and tried to figure out if there was some major life decision I was supposed to be making right then, and this was God's way of speaking to me through somebody's vanity plate.

I guess there are some things I could be deciding right now, but I honestly don't think the timing's right, and if I had taken that license plate too seriously, I would be making snap decisions which would probably have deleterious effects in the future. (Ooh--cool. I spelled deleterious right! I'm pretty sure I've never used it in a written sentence. And maybe not in a spoken one, either.)

So after convincing myself that it wasn't a personal message to me, I started wondering what it meant. Why would someone put the word Decide on their license plate? What are they trying to achieve? What kind of person puts a word like that on the back of their car with no explanation?

I actually have a whole bunch of ideas about this, and am now planning on putting some such person in a novel (if I ever get another idea for a novel besides the one I'm trying to get an agent for, which I think might be a lost cause). Look, I called it, okay?

All the same, it would be kind of fun to make a game out of it, too, and you could tell me what kind of character does this. I know, it's pure speculation, and I don't know anything really about the actual person who did this, but . . . that just means we aren't really talking about them. It's not character defamation because we're just imagining. And besides, I think if I were the type of person to put the word Decide on my license plate, I would also be the type of person who, if I somehow managed to stumble across this blog, would be pretty amused to see what kind of person people thought I might be. But you know . . . maybe I'm just making that up.

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Bethany Staruk said...

Wow, right before I read your blog, I was trying to make a decision about living on campus next year or getting an apartment and commuting to Boston from Worcester as many times as needed for class and if I really should go to Ireland next semester... But then i put down my lists upon lists of information and thought that I have a long way to go before I need to actually put a final answer in. But now after reading this, I feel like it may have been a sign saying that I should make a decision now or just stop worrying about it in general.

As far as the type of person to put this on their license plate, I assume it it a person who does whatever they feel they need to do, at the moment it comes to them. Or they feel like by having decide on their license plates they are helping the person behind them to make a decision that has been hard for them to make.

I don't know.. just some thoughts.

John said...

I'm trying to decide if I should leave a comment or not. If I leave a comment will that mean that just the illustration was enough to coerce me to decide? Or if I don't comment will that mean that I have failed to decide and have continued on in my day indecisive? Perhaps commenting in no way alleviates my need to decide at all....To do nothing in some way seems to be a disservice to myself, almost as if an accusation had been innocuously handed to me that insinuated that I have a problem with decision making. Well I have decided I have no strong feelings one way or another :-)

Jennwith2ns said...

Hey Bethany! Fun to hear from you on the blog. And kind of one of those weird 'is this serendipity?' moments regarding the timing . . . of my seeing that car, of my writing this post, and of you reading it. ;)

John--Welcome, and thanks for commenting. Most especially because that comment rocked.

Jeff said...

Decide? Hmmmm. This isn't particularly deep or funny, but the only thing I can think of is that it might be meant as a call to just commit-- just go out and do something, rather than sitting on the fence. A bit like the mentality of "Look, I don't care who you vote for-- just go get educated and vote for someone."

You're thought about our tendency to decide if moments like that are God speaking to us is dead on. I believe he does, sometimes, speak to us that way... and I also believe we some times make an idol out of our circumstances.