Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Driving Lessons

I was nervous the first time I got behind the wheel in driver's ed. I was short, 4'11", and had to move the seat all the way up to reach the foot pedals. The steering wheel was wider than my shoulders with a shiny metal inner ring for the horn. I started the engine, shifted into drive, gripped the required 10 and 2 position, and cautiously pulled away from the curb. My knees felt like jelly. My heart was pounding. But after several days of practice, I began to relax as I grew more familiar with the car and my ability to manuever it.

One morning while driving on the highway, my instructor advised me to watch the horizon instead of the road immediately in front of the car. Overcorrections diminished. My steering and braking were much smoother. The drive was less stressful and more pleasant for me and my passenger.

Life experiences are like learning to drive. Navigating the highway of my life, I find the ride is smoother when I keep my focus on the horizon. When difficulties arise and fear sets in, I react to the immediate with uncertainty and doubt. My heart pounds and my breathing becomes shallow as my knees turn to jelly. It feels like the first time getting behind the wheel of a powerful instrument all over again. It's unfamiliar territory and I begin to doubt. My actions become erratic and unpredictable.

Then I remember to get my focus back on the horizon. Soon things begin to smooth out and calm down. I can breathe again and continue on my way.

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