Thursday, May 19, 2011

Driver's Seat

"Pick up your feet got to move to the trick of the beat
There is no lead just take your place in the driver's seat"

~Sniff 'n the Tears

It's funny how memories come back like they were yesterday. My son failed his driver's test due to a pretty minor mistake, but the failure was painful for him just the same. Still, we can be sure that he will never fail to slow down and look both ways at an uncontrolled intersection for the remainder of his years behind the wheel, and the next time he takes the test, he will be better prepared.

Sharing the news of Justin's experience on his road test with some friends has brought back a flurry of memories from those who have also failed their first attempts at getting their driver's license, mine included.

Back in the early 80's when I was a teenager, our family car was a beat up old station wagon that had seen better days to be sure. Not only was it an embarrassment to drive, but I was certain that the examiner would take one look at it and fail the car before I ever got a chance to drive it! So, I had asked my brother if I could use his car for the test. Bob had a classic Plymouth Satellite in mint condition. He foolishly agreed to my request.

I had never been behind the wheel of Bob's car before the day of the test. It was raining that morning and the back window was fogged up, but his car didn't have rear-window defoggers. As I was backing out of the parking space to begin the test, I hit the car behind me! The examiner got out to check for damage, but finding none, told me to proceed with the test.

Knowing I had already failed, the tears began to flow. I cried throughout the entire test. Do you think that might have made the examiner a bit uncomfortable, or was he used to the tears of teenage girls?

As we made our way through the city streets of Manitowoc, we came to a four-way stop and just at that time, an ambulance with its siren blaring came from behind. Still fretting over my major mistake in the parking lot, I panicked about the rules of the road for emergency vehicles. I drove through the intersection and pulled over instead of staying put at the stop sign. So, had I not hit a car in the parking lot, I would have failed the test anyway. I'm just grateful that the ambulance wasn't there because of my parking lot accident! :)

Thinking back to that long-ago day, I have a new appreciation and gratitude for those who work at the Department of Motor Vehicles. They put up with a lot of immature and unprepared drivers, kids who are just desperate to reach that milestone and take their place in the driver's seat.

I imagine that God's role in our lives is a lot like that of the Road Test Examiner. God bravely sits right beside us on the journey of life, whether we are well prepared or not. He often has to take the hard stance and stifle our eager ambitions no matter how good our intentions might be, because He knows that our actions can alter so much more than our own puny lives, but that everything we do can have an affect on others as well. Sometimes He has to say "no" to our most ardent desires because He knows that the safety and well-being of others is at stake. Although our vision may be impaired by a foggy window, God clearly sees the way in which we are to go, and He will not allow us to advance without first assuring that we are well-prepared in our driver's seat so as to safely reach our ultimate destination, the glorious kingdom of heaven.


  1. Anne,
    I think the only reason I passed my driver's test was because there was so much traffic that day that I could only go a few miles per hour and there wasn't even 1 parking space available to parallel park (which I dreaded because I never quite figured out the slice of pizza pie angle thing)!

    I'm sure your son was disappointed but the good thing about driving tests is that you can take it again :)

  2. Funny that you should post this. My daughter is taking driver's ed this June, and will probably be ready to take the test sometime in December. Our first driver. Aaa!

    That's a funny comparison...God and the workers at the DMV. It reminds me of the scene from Elf, when Will Ferrell goes down to the mail room and says "It's just like the North Pole, only it smells like mushrooms and people look like they want to hurt me." :)

    I hope that my daughter's DMV evaluator is as kind, loving and truthful as God is with us.

  3. I was lucky. The car would not start at first and I was so calm about trying to start it, that when it did, I only had to drive around the block. The examiner was impressed! And took pity on me I guess!
    Love your analogy to God! I think God takes pity on us too when we fail. He is always giving us second chances... And third chances... And 4th chances. He wants us all to pass.