Another year has come and gone, another birthday has been spent thinking about all of the things I haven’t accomplished in my life, and another season has hit with the tenacity of this humid Maine summer.
I’m not really a control freak. I’m actually the worst with control. I know this because I don’t have it so I don’t bother trying to control things. I don’t clean my room very often. I don’t get upset if people don’t do things my way. I don’t even drive.
Driving a car is to me the scariest thing in the entire universe, second only to bees. Anxiety reigns when I get behind the wheel. My heart rate elevates, my hands start shaking, and I start to hyper focus. What other people can do like it’s no big deal at all I find terrifying and paralyzing. I don’t understand people who think they are safe having control over a vehicle that could easily get smashed to pieces by another bigger vehicle. I don’t like having the responsibility of life and death in my hands. Is that a little dramatic? Do I care? If you find a bee in the house, set it on fire. The house. With the bee inside.
But I promised my parents, those people who are trying to help me be a grown up, at the beginning of the year that I would work towards getting my license. Since January I have been studiously avoiding the driver’s manual and making sure that I am only in the passenger’s seat of the car. Every now and then I had lapses in concentration and read the book, or mom would annoy the crap out of me and quiz me. Surprisingly I become a comedian when people quiz me about car stuff. Like, I’m really funny you guys. You’d have to be there but trust me on this: I’m hilarious.
The day after my birthday I woke up at 7 and mom drove me to the DMV so that I could take the test to get my permit. The proctor wished me a late happy birthday. The security guy behind him asked if he was too late to spank me. I gave them a look. The first guy said I wasn’t down for that. I said no I was not.
After the eye exam I sat down at the computer with my name on the screen and started the test. The night before I had planned on studying but instead I drank tequila and talked to a friend on the phone for over an hour. I also didn’t even get out of work until 9:50 pm or so. But I relied on my extensive test taking skills that I acquired from years of schooling, and I strategically answered as many questions as I could without going over the limit of wrong answers and skipped a few that I didn’t know to answer questions I did know. Ultimately I was one of the first people finished and I got a modest 80.
So now I have to drive.
It’s not like there’s a set amount of hours, the proctor said that I could send in to take the test when I feel ready. So I have 5 months to start attempting to drive like a sane human person so that I can send in for said license test.
But I don’t like it! And it’s so hard! And it scares me so much you guys! I’d rather be covered in bees while trying to eat honey, which apparently some dude did.
In trying to power through the anxiety wall I am finding myself facing more anxiety behind the wheel. How can people do anything while driving? I can barely work the radio, which really pisses me off because I need some tunes always. I forget that I have mirrors, so I just pray there’s no one on the road before I leave the driveway. I’m not entirely understanding of the amount of space that the car takes up on the road from the driver’s seat. I drive under the speed limit a lot.
But I’m trying.
I know that God wants me to do it because He made me my parent’s daughter and they are quite fervent in their belief that I need to drive. I know that He wants me to do it because He doesn’t like that I live afraid of something. I know He wants me to put on my big girl panties and deal with driving because what everyone has told me is true, I will be able to have freedom. But I don’t think it’s just the ability to go where I want to that will be this freedom, I think it will be God giving me a chance to work through this fear. I’m afraid of the things I can’t control outside the car and of being unable to control it correctly myself. If I were in the bible I would be a lazy disciple, definitely. No wonder God is giving me another challenge.
What I want to do is one of the most difficult things in the universe. I want to rely not on myself but on the truth of who Christ is. I know that if I can remember to focus on this whole driving thing as a spiritual exercise I’ll rely on Christ instead of my own ability, which is always the most comforting thing I can think of when facing stress and anxiety. When I try to take control, lose control, whatever; the truth of the situation is that I have a savior who is waiting for me in the eye of the storm. I’m not getting swept away like Dorothy to Oz, and I’m not going to hide in the storm cellar either. I’m going to try to meet Him in the middle of the terrifying.