'The Angelus' by French painter Jean-François Millet. Wikipedia

Thoughts from a car rally

By  Anastasia Corkery, Youth Speak News
  • August 17, 2022

I recently participated in a car rally. What is a car rally, you may ask? It is essentially a scavenger hunt and race on wheels in which you follow directions to complete tasks in a set amount of time — all while experiencing bumps along the way. 

For example, one task required each team to recreate a work of art, but with items discarded at the local dump. My team recreated French painter Jean-François Millet’s The Angelus, which depicts two peasants bowing in prayer in a field over a basket of potatoes. We used an old mop (the pitchfork) and box (the barrow). I thought the humility of it all strangely appropriate. 

Now there were other tasks we did not complete — my team could not find the hidden hay bales in a field and consequently lost points. 

While recalling the day, what struck me was the parallel between a car rally and the human experience of life. 

In a way, life is like an extended scavenger hunt. However, this giant scavenger hunt can be seen in one of two ways. I think the first way is quite common and subtly creeps into our daily thinking, perhaps out of fear of becoming too lax with ourselves or because of the tasks where we have failed. It is the perspective of seeing the world as against you and negative by nature. 

Now there is truth to not being blind to the sin and evil in the world. And yes, we are taught to be in the world but not of the world. However, I think this mindset is contrary to the Christian teaching of joy and the goodness of creation. 

And now for the second way. Despite sin, the world is an inherently good thing, being a creation of God. Yes, imperfect, but good. This wisdom should always be our first and most fundamental belief about creation: God made it and it is good. 

Of course, our outlook on life will never be as black and white as these two perspectives, but I think our susceptibility to the first warrants a reminder to check our inner thinking and approach to life.

What, you may ask, does a car rally have to do with these truths?  

Like a car rally, there are often twists and turns, incomplete tasks and unexpected quests that may make us a little uncomfortable or push us to new daring heights (such as jumping off a bridge). In life too there are similar challenges and duties of the moment which may make us uncomfortable. 

The primary thing here is that we have the proper mindset. 

We are tempted to despair or complain when things don’t go our way or when we are summoned to tackle an “unexpected task.” We need to reframe our mindset in these moments.

As English writer G.K. Chesterton said, “an adventure is merely an inconvenience rightly considered.” 

Maybe we could benefit from incorporating a few car rally practices into our own lives? Try to see future inconveniences or unexpected challenges as fun opportunities for an adventure and gifts from God — even if you do not know whether you will succeed.

We did not find the hay bales, but we did look, and we did cool down by jumping off the bridge, and that was a win right there.

(Corkery, 20, will study English at Redeemer University in Hamilton, Ont.)

Please support The Catholic Register

Unlike many media companies, The Catholic Register has never charged readers for access to the news and information on our website. We want to keep our award-winning journalism as widely available as possible. But we need your help.

For more than 125 years, The Register has been a trusted source of faith-based journalism. By making even a small donation you help ensure our future as an important voice in the Catholic Church. If you support the mission of Catholic journalism, please donate today. Thank you.