There once was a young man named Caleb who I promised I would write about one day…perhaps he reminds you of yourself, I know he does me.
Most of us, as we neared our driving age, strongly desired to grab the keys, jump into the driver’s seat and zip away from the driveway into freedom!
We wanted to roll down the windows, turn up the radio and experience the freedom of driving. The raw power of a car or truck could take us places we never knew and faster than we could imagine. Freedom ahead. Boredom behind.
Many of us dreamed that once we got behind the wheel life would be great and we would never have a dull moment again. Driving for the first time is exhilarating and sometimes even a bit scary, but oh what a feeling it is.
The feeling of control, power, and freedom is intoxicating. This rite of passage is common for most of us. We turn in our bikes and scooters for four wheels and a set of keys. A whole new world of possibilities opens up to us once we leave the curb.
Some of us found quickly that driving also included speeding tickets and painful accidents. I received both within the first few months of driving. I hit a pedestrian because my window was iced over and I couldn’t see him. I also didn’t see that school zone sign. Why do they hide those things behind the trees anyway?
Most of us soon learn that freedom can lead to something beyond being free. We have to decide how to walk (or drive) in that liberty. We must learn to make wise decisions when we drive. Will I choose to stop at that sign or not? Are speed limits rules or simply guidelines? Must I use a blinker all the time? Do I drive the same way when it is wet or snowy? Do I really have to pay attention all the time?
Power brings responsibility. Not only did Spiderman find this out, but every driver of a car does as well. At age sixteen I ran into a guy and was traumatized for some time afterward as I considered what could have happened. His knee was hurt and my bumper tore his suit; it could have been far worse.
Recently, I nearly missed a biker that I didn’t see due to the glare of the sun. Both of our worlds would have been radically changed had I hit him instead of barely missing. His family would have had a funeral and mine would probably be visiting me in jail.
Not being careful with power and freedom can lead to death, destruction, heartache and a great deal of loss. Being in the driver’s seat is fun and also a bit nerve-racking if we have the proper perspective.
Seems like life is pretty similar to driving to me. We sometimes think we are in total control. We perhaps speed, ignore signs, take freedom for granted or even get a bit cocky. God and life have a way of helping us learn to take our freedom seriously and temper it with responsibility. We are in the driver’s seat, yet we are not alone. We do not live, work, play or worship alone. We have others all around us.
How we drive impacts many others…ever try to get on the entrance ramp and the guy refuses to speed up, slow down or move over into the other lane? How about tailgaters, random lane-changers, and blinker-less cars. I know, every car has blinkers, but it sure seems like they all are broken! How about the texting, chatting, eating drivers weaving all over the road? Does their freedom affect others?
How we drive and live impacts many others. Some we are aware of and most we probably are not, yet we are responsible when we are in the driver’s seat. Cars and our daily lives have a great deal in common. We have freedom and we have responsibility. I pray we would learn to use both wisely.
I’ve seen my young friend Caleb grow up into a responsible adult. He has adapted to freedom and responsibility as most of us do. While we know we are in the driver’s seat, we also know we are not alone. Both God and others are with us, around us, and we learn that many other drivers need us to be responsible with our freedom.
Life is lived in stages and learning to be in the driver’s seat is one of them. We begin to drive and we learn to be responsible. If we are wise, we learn to listen to those that have been driving longer than we have and we understand that we are not alone in our journey.
We all will make mistakes, probably get a ticket and most likely sooner than later have an accident. We can and should learn from them and not continue to repeat the same mistakes over and over.
My young friend Caleb is gaining experience and he is still learning…sort of like the rest of us. Sitting in the driver’s seat is fun, freeing, and also sometimes very difficult.
Driving, like life, is full of multiple choices that not only decide how we drive but where we end up in our travels. Will we arrive safely? Will we be a blessing to others or will we hurt them by our decisions and usage of our freedom?
While we may be in the driver’s seat enjoying the view and our freedom, we also learn the road we are on has many other drivers that will be impacted by our choices, and therefore we have to begin to understand the responsibility of being in that seat. Enjoy the drive, but be responsible along the journey.