During Lent we’re asked to look at ourselves in the mirror

I don’t know if you have driven to Dublin recently, but I renewed my experience of the road trip last Friday.

I don’t know if you have driven to Dublin recently but I renewed my experience of the road trip last Friday. Normally I’m a creature of habit and prefer to travel by my traditional route but I was convinced going via Belfast would be quicker. Weighing up my choices I had to pick between going the tried and tested road or veer east towards Belfast then southwards onwards to Dublin. The advantages of going through Belfast would be the enjoyment of better roads, mostly dual carriage or motorway. In the end the thought of being struck in Omagh, Auchnacloy and every other town and village on the N2 to Dublin persuaded me to take the diversion to Belfast.

Everything was fine until I approached the roundabout at Castledawson. For some reason I thought the major roadworks affected the road to Toome. This was a mistake; a new bypass was being constructed so I had the pleasure of an unnecessary diversion around the shores of Lough Neagh which added twenty to thirty minutes to my trip. The rest of the journey was great until I reached the toll at Drogheda. The lady in the kiosk mentioned there was diversion but I though nothing more about it. I was trying to recover from a mad scramble to fine euro coins to pay the toll. Any normal person would have planned ahead and made an allowance. They might even have stopped their journey to check for loose change in the car. I did neither; instead I almost dislocated my shoulder trying to get my wallet out of my back pocket, in the end I had to take the seat belt off to make life easier. I should mention the car was stationary in the queue before I tried this manoeuvre. I left the toll at 1pm and met the queuing traffic following the diversion off the motorway. By 3pm I was still in the queue of slow moving traffic. Overall my journey to Dublin took six hours. Then to rub salt into the wounds, as I parked my car to get the Dart into the city centre the train drove off as I was putting money in the ticket machine.

However, this afforded me another twenty minutes of waiting, pondering what was left of my weekend. The two hours in traffic was a very frustrating experience and I was losing patience very quickly. The not knowing what was happening or how long the diversion would take was the most troubling factor.

Indeed Lent is an occasion when we’re asked to look in the mirror, to look at ourselves, our relationships with others and with God. We need to confront ourselves in the quiet of our hearts, taking time to question. Pope Francis argues ‘The desert is the place where you can hear the voice of God and the voice of the tempter. In the noise and confusion this cannot be done; we can only hear superficial rumours. Instead in the desert we can go deeper, where our destiny is really played out. And how do we hear the voice of God? We hear it in His Word.’