I recently traveled from Boise to Denver for a Sacred Assembly. The network my church belongs to is relatively new and people needed to speak about and vote on charters and other important things. I must say, that ecclesiastical democracy is completely novel to me, and I love it.
My group included sixteen adventurers, all of whom traveled together in a caravan comprised of two minivans and the dad-car I captained. The distance between Boise and Denver is only a little more than 800 miles, or what amounts to about fourteen hours of driving or three white-trash sized energy drinks and just as many bathroom breaks.
One might believe that a large amount of time in a car with a person can go one of two directions. Extended hours allow for acquaintances to become best friends or bitter enemies, depending on how personalities mix. I’m going to argue the positive side for a change and tell you that your closest friends are those who’ve traveled in the same smelly rental car with you for hours upon hours. You see, road trips are hostage situations.
Passengers may willingly climb into a vehicle, but once in motion, they live at the mercy of the person at the wheel. Because the driver is making a sacrifice for his or her riders by remaining not only conscious but diligently aware of the road, that individual typically gets to determine factors such as temperature and what music the group must listen to. It’s a big deal to sit in my car and listen to my awesome (read: questionable) music. The setting becomes one of captivity because exiting a tan Chevy Malibu that’s traveling at 80 miles an hour is painful and a foolish move for anyone who values their well-being.
Anyway, at the end of the trip, which included more than twenty-eight hours in the same car, my church people are the closest of friends now. I accredit it all to Stockholm Syndrome. If you’re not familiar with this psychological phenomenon, it occurs when a group of prisoners identify with their captor, even to the point of defending him or her. Twenty-eight hours is more than enough time for this to develop.
Now, I’m going to tell you that Stockholm Syndrome is actually something God designed.
To make this biblical, and therefore something that nobody can argue with, I’m going to cite an instance from the Old Testament. Jacob’s favored youngest son Joseph couldn’t keep his trap shut after having an awesome couple of dreams about everyone bowing down to him, so his brothers tried to kill him by throwing him into a pit. Judah, always on the lookout for an opportunity and knowing that a profit could be made, persuaded the others to sell Joseph to the Ishmaelites. It was apparently better than killing him and having his blood on their hands.
As the story went, Joseph ended up in Egypt and did well under Potiphar, the captain of the palace for a while. This lasted until Potiphar’s scandalous wife ruined everything. That said, Joseph, still in captivity ended up as Pharaoh’s second-in command. You see? It’s totally a God thing, right? Nevermind the more than four-hundred years after Joseph where the Israelites weren’t so happy. Most hostage situations shouldn’t last four centuries, that’s just too much time for resentment to build up.
Anyway, my point is that if you want to become someone’s friend, you should drive hundreds of miles with them. Do this even if they don’t want to go, because clearly, at the end of your adventure, they’ll like you, no matter what. Of course, I’m mostly kidding, a healthy relationship at the end of an abduction won’t keep the police away.