I saw it in the distance, a semi-truck transporting a massive piece of machinery. The banner “OVERSIZE LOAD” with all the flags and flashing lights is always a sore sight to see on the road. Especially on the interstate going 70 miles an hour. It makes any driver quiver a bit.

So all I can see is this colossal truck towering above the bustling traffic around it. And I realize that he is in an “exit only” lane- the far right lane in the 5-lane highway, and the particular lane that exits to the shopping mall or out to west Omaha. Both of these exit options seem a very unlikely destination for our friend with the mysterious bulky apparatus. He is going to have to make a quick lane switch to the left.

I feel panicky for him. How is he going to pull a left-hand lane switch with all the traffic around him? No one likes to let trucks get in front of them, let alone an annoying OVERSIZE load that probably has blind spots all over the place. No thank you mister truck, your lane is your problem.

Then, I see something surprising. Something I didn’t notice before. Two little dinky flags sneak their way over in ninja-speed to the left lane. A car! The oversize truck’s driving companion! You know, you’ve seen them before- the SUVs and cars and what not, that follow or lead the oversize loads in a parade down the country roads. Well, this little friend, who was there the whole time, made a quick merge to the left. And then it happened! The little car slowed down, giving just enough space for the semi-truck to safely merge left, out of the “exit only” lane, just in the knick of time!

They did it! They got out of the “exit only” lane. No shopping or west O for these guys today. They kept on driving smoothly toward their destination. My heart-rate simmered down a bit. And as I made my own exit, I glanced over to them with beaming pride. I was applauding their heroic act. I marveled at their little teamwork to get out of the bind. But something else caught my eye as I they whizzed on down the interstate.

On the car were printed very humble and worn out words: “PILOT CAR.”

It was funny to me. Pilot car? At the back? When you think of “pilot” you think of in the front. You think of the guy in charge. The dude leading and everyone following. You think of the person with the fancy steam-pressed uniform and shiny rimmed hat.

When you think of “pilot” you do not think of a dinky little junker in the back.

And then I realized what I just saw. I saw a picture of marriage. A picture of our marriage. Leading, guiding, or “piloting” doesn’t always come with glittering honor and obvious “in-chargeness.” No, sometimes leading the family means stepping out into the traffic. It means making the sacrifice. Making the leap. So that the rest of the family can follow in safety.

The pilot car and oversized truck were both going the same direction. They both knew the destination. They were driving together. But the pilot car, he had to make a quick-witted solution to keep them going the way they needed to go. He wasn’t in the front. He didn’t get over to the left lane, look back, and say, “Honey, you coming? Oh, you can’t fit in? Well you better squeeze! You better hurry, cuz I can’t help you now!”

No, no, no.

Together they knew. The destination was mutual so thus the problem was mutual. The “exit-lane” threatened both of them. But the pilot car, well, he was the one who made the heroic plan. He was the one in the back whipping to the left. Not so he could drive away to the destination and hope his partner would find her own way. No, he made the move SO THAT the oversized load could get there with him.

Leading from the back.

Now, that doesn’t mean passive leadership. It doesn’t mean backseat driving leadership either. It means sacrificial leadership. Humble leadership. Equipping leadership. Tactical leadership. Together leadership.

So I guess you might be wondering, “So, Sarah, you are the oversize load? Is that a self-proclaimed fat joke?”

Ha. Sure why not? I’ll be the oversize load and Bobby can be the little junker. I kinda like the humor of it, because well, everyone needs a little joke to lighten the load.

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