Before these thoughts slip away from my mind, I shall write them here. Been getting random inspirations during my driving lessons.
It all started a few lessons ago, when I noticed that my instructor no longer place his right foot on standby near the foot brake that is located at the left passenger seat. The purpose of the foot brake is to stop the car from moving when the things that I do (or fail to do) pose danger to myself or other road users. It started off with slamming on the foot brake on my behalf, and slowly it became more of telling me to apply brakes and sometimes affirming me by saying “yes, that’s right, that’s how you can use your brakes”. I guess this is a sign that he trusts that I have a better idea of what to do now as I learn to maneuver this vehicle.
That’s just like growing up, isn’t it? When we were kids, parents impose this and that restriction on us because they wanted to protect us. But as we grow older and along the way show that we can be trusted in the things we do, bit by bit they stop looking so much at those “foot brakes”. Instead of slamming on them, our parents become our advisors. They begin to trust that we know how to assess the situation and speak to us about them. This progression takes place when our character shows sensibility and trustworthiness.
Driving also requires one to look several metres ahead. There may be ongoing road works resulting in road blocks, or there may be reckless drivers, or careless pedestrians, or something else that requires you to be swerved off your original course. Man, I hate having those things in my way because their occurrences cause me to panic a little on the inside whenever I have to try and react to them in time. Changes need to be made in terms of my vehicle’s speed, and sometimes even to the point of stopping. Or, sometimes I’ll have to find an opportunity to change lanes – I wouldn’t say changing lane is scary, but it does take a lot of effort to check this mirror, that mirror and my blind spot and make my move in the shortest time possible.
One thing this reminds me of is to always look further ahead, so that I have sufficient time to react and make the necessary changes in my life. The idea of planning ahead. The idea of being aware of what’s going on ahead. The idea of being watchful. Because, what if it’s not just a little panic that takes place on the inside when we encounter something we have not anticipated, but that a lack of foresight results in some “road accidents” along the way?
And yes, I lack such foresight. In the recent lessons, my instructor has been talking to me about looking ahead, and telling me that driving is not just about changing up gears, stepping on my accelerator and driving as fast as possible. Remember the foot brake he has on his side of the car? He also has a mirror that allows him to watch for vehicles on my behalf. I started driving with just having to learn how to control that vehicle well and make it move while he takes care of the rest. I mean, that was what he kept telling me initially; he told me to not worry because he will watch for vehicles on my behalf, so that I could concentrate on my task at hand. However, as I “grow” and he places his foot away from the foot brake now, he is also teaching me to be watchful for my own safety and others’ safety as well. He keeps reminding me that I have to be a safe driver above all else. When we’re young, our parents would take care of this and that for us, but as we grow we got to learn to take care of these other things as well. Another lesson I can extract from this is that life is not just about rushing forward, recklessly and without consideration. It requires one to plan ahead and be on the watch out. Sometimes we will need to slow down and there may also be times when stopping is necessary.
Looking further ahead and being aware of my surrounding is something that I have to learn now. I’m currently still not quite good at that, even though I do tell myself to watch. I guess part of the difficulty comes in the form of not being familiar with the amount of reaction time I need. There were times I reacted too early and he would go “What are you doing? He’s still so far away!”, and at other times he would be like “Why didn’t you stop? You couldn’t have gone ahead when this happens!” I’m like, woah. bad judgment, WX. I’ll try to explain by going I thought, I thought, I thought. But well, I thought wrong.
Being bad at this means that I’d better be trusting my instructor when he asks me to do something. I’d better be changing my lane when he says so. I’d better be slowing down when he says so. I’d better stop when he says so. All these, even if I don’t know what’s going on and I don’t understand why I should. Because he knows better.
There were times he said, “Just do it first, I’ll explain this to you later.” And he always did the moment I passed through whatever obstacle that was in my way. He would take the opportunity to teach me how to respond to circumstances like those, and why it was important that I did what I just did a.k.a. what he told me to do.
This sounds pretty familiar, doesn’t it? This instructor-cum-advisor seems like Someone in my life – God. He definitely sees further in my life than I do, He certainly knows better. Even when I think that I know well enough, the truth is I don’t. Then I’d better be listening and obeying because not only He sees further and knows better than I do, surely He loves me and wants the best for me. So even at times when I don’t understand, I’d better obey. Many of them did – Abraham, Moses, those guys marching around the wall of Jericho, Naman, etc. Look at what happened as they obeyed!
There had been times like that in my life. Some of those times were easier to obey than others. And in some of those “other times”, there were tears and desperation. There were times that God allowed me to understand what was happening and what He was doing in my life. I’ve seen so much wisdom and experienced awe in times like that.
But, there were also times He didn’t explain. He’s definitely not anything less than my driving instructor by not explaining everything to me. Put it another way – He’s way better than my driving instructor! I can trust that the “explanation” He withholds is good for me to not know in this season or even, till the day I meet Him face to face. I can never see as far ahead as He does in my life, and even now, I may not know entirely about myself like He does. But the truth that He knows everything from the past to the future, being the Alpha and Omega, who loves me, I can trust Him. Does it mean it will always be easy to trust and obey from now on? Perhaps not, but this is a reminder.
Then in fellowship sweet we will sit at His feet,
Or we’ll walk by His side in the way;
What He says we will do, where He sends we will go;
Never fear, only trust and obey.