Sunday afternoon, I spent over an hour in the passenger’s seat while teaching my son how to drive in the high school parking lot. He drove uphill, made left hand turns, learned to stop without giving his passenger whiplash, pulled into parking spaces and backed out.
Honestly I was impressed with his first lesson with him. And funny thing is, he was impressed with how cool and collected I stayed. “Mom, you didn’t freak out like I thought you would.”
I’ll admit there were a couple of dicey moments when he took a curve a little too sharply or picked up more downhill speed than I would’ve liked. Overall, though, we both walked away from that experience with a little more confidence–he with his driving skills and me with my teaching skills.
That same evening, my younger son needed to be taken into town for Ultimate Frisbee. I recommended that my older son drive. After all, it was a Sunday evening and traffic would be minimal. He wasn’t crazy about the idea, but relented. So the three of us buckled into the car and set off down the road, going a different route than our usual one because when DS1 backed out of the driveway, he turned his wheels the wrong way. No problem.
We live in a township just over the city limits. So close, in fact, that it takes me less than three minutes to hit the business district. It’s a matter of driving over an overpass and crossing railroad tracks.
So we made it to the field to drop off DS2. Again, the drive over had a few shaky moments with speed and balanced steering, but we survived. I do believe some grays sprouted on my head, and I believe I pulled a muscle in my hand from gripping the door handle so tightly while repeating STOP!STOP!STOP! when a white van came to a quick stop in front of us.
At the field, we had to drive down into the middle school parking lot to turn around. It’s a little tricky, but before DS1 did it, I talked him through it. Well, he managed to get stressed and couldn’t focus on what I was telling him. I became frustrated when a car came up behind us and we were in the middle of the exit. DS1 ended up getting mad, slammed out of the driver’s seat for me to crawl over the shifter to drive and hurled himself into the passenger seat. A silent ride home.
Carrie Underwood sings, “Jesus, take the wheel,”which is about a girl driving in the snow on her way to see her family. When she is in a potential accident, she cries out for Jesus to take the wheel because she can’t do it in her own.
I love the beauty of the song because driving is just the overt message in the lyrics. No matter what we have going on in our lives–marriage, parenting, family issues, work issues, education problems, emotional stress–we can’t do things on our own. God allows trials to come in our lives to serve as wake up calls and to encourage us to lean on Him.
Just as my son had a basic idea of driving, he couldn’t do it alone. He needed my encouragement, knowledge and support. He’s far from ready to take his test, but by sliding behind that wheel, he conquered the jitters from his very first driving experience that almost landed him in a snowbank–no, I was not in the passenger seat when that happened. He proved to himself that he could do it. Now he simply has to keep practicing and lean on those with more knowledge.
We can do things alone in life, but we may come face to face with mountains that seem too unbearable to attempt. With Jesus in our lives, He goes before us and forges a way with hope and grace. Ask Jesus to take the wheel, and He will steer you through life’s challenges.
Your turn: What was your first driving experience like? Other than the obvious increased skills, what did you take away from learning how to drive? Who is in your driver’s seat now?