Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Driving Fear - Part 2

The Scenic Route

It was my first day driving on my own, with nobody else in the car. I had been to work many times, of course, but I had always either gotten a ride, driven with someone in the car to help me get there, or taken the bus. Now I was on my own. It was a simple trip from Mountlake Terrace to Bothell, WA. Maybe 5 miles, tops. No sweat, right?

But then came the missed turn. I went straight when I should have turned right. Pretty soon I found myself in Maltby. This was a cause for concern, as I had never been to Maltby before, and I had no idea where Maltby was. It's a pretty city, and I might have enjoyed it, had I intended to go there. Pretty soon I found a sign pointing to Bothell and followed it. I didn't see any other signs, and before I knew it, I found myself in an abandoned yard for an old building that looked like it hadn't seen people working there in about 50 years or so. OK, turn what?

I continued on my way in a direction that I figured was (hopefully) the way to Bothell, but pretty soon, I saw a Clearview Restaurant. Then a Clearview Gas Station. I was getting worried now because it looked like, judging from the common thread in the names of the businesses, Clearview was a city. I had never heard of Clearview, and that was quite concerning. I continued along a highway that seemed to go on and on, and I got the feeling I was getting farther and farther from my destination. Finally, I found an exit and turned around.

When I finally got to work, I was 2 hours late. Fortunately, once I explained the delay, we all had a good laugh. The drive should have taken about ten minutes.

(Click on the map to see it larger)

I thought that was the end of my adventures for the day, but my hopes were to be dashed shortly after I left work (2 hours later than I normally would have left). Not far from the parking lot, I was turning right onto the road that crossed the freeway. The light was red, but in the state of Washington, it is legal to turn right on a red light as long as it is safe. This being my first day driving on my own, I was somewhat less than confident, and so I turned right...way too slowly. A car that was already on the road I was turning onto came sailing through the light (his light was green, and he had the right of way), and he crashed into the rear driver's side light.

Needless to say, I was terribly shaken. The police officer had to console me before issuing the ticket. I called my dad, who came over right away, and was also a big help.

A $100 fine to the city of Bothell and over $400 of repairs later, I learned that sometimes going too slowly is a bad thing. Since then, every time I drive, I am very conscious of the dangers of driving. It instilled more of a fear than ever of making a stupid mistake, and I have become a better driver because of it. Since then, I have not gotten any more tickets, and I hope never to get one again.

That day, I also learned another important lesson: Knowing where you're going and how to get there ahead of time is very important. It may make for a funny story, but being late is very often not funny at all.

It should be the same with how we view God. We need to study His roadmap (the Bible) regularly, so that we are ready for whatever circumstances may come our way, and we know when we need to turn around...sooner rather than later. And we need to watch, be alert, and be careful to follow what He has taught us through His word and through life experiences.

Driving, and following the Lord, are incredibly liberating experiences, but if we don't balance our freedom with a healthy fear, we can forfeit (or at least impair) that freedom.

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