My doctor had just suggested I start learning to stay-in-the-moment more, but how? Driving home, I was consumed with my to-do list. I was weeks behind on my volunteer work for City Church.
“Betsy,” Mom yelled as I raced into the house, “First thing, call Doris, she’s waiting for you.”
“Doris, who?” I asked.
“Becker… my cousin.”
“Because, Betsy, she needs you to take her out driving, her driver’s license test is in the morning.”
“What’s that got to do with me?”
“You’ve taken Driver’s Ed. The last time she failed, DMV told her not to come back without taking driving classes first.”
“One night with me isn’t what they meant. Anyway, did you say ‘last time she failed?’”
Mom was giggling. “She failed seven times, but Tim doesn’t know. She wanted to surprise him with her license, but after failing, she was embarrassed to tell him. She can’t take classes or he’ll know. It’s pathetic, but funny.”
“Then you take her if it’s so funny,” I snapped.
“But you took the classes. Try to figure out what she’s doing wrong.”
“Yeah right, in one night? And what about the church stuff I need to do tonight?”
At Doris’s, I yielded the steering wheel. She hadn’t driven very far when I knew her problem - everything! She was too tense, gripped the wheel tightly, and shifted her eyes so quickly between mirrors she barely saw the road. Speeding was not an issue. She did 25 in a 40-mph zone. If I corrected her, she cried, but her driving scared me.
“Doris, next intersection, turn left. By the way, I’m curious, why’d you fail your driver’s tests? Mom said they recommended a Driver Ed course before retesting?”
“They did,” she smiled. “But I had one incompetent examiner after another, and they blamed my driving!”
“That’s too bad,” was all I could say with a straight face. I couldn’t tell her tomorrow she’d fail her eighth test.
For three hours she turned right, left, stopped, started, attempted 3-point and u-turns.
“Doris, it’s getting dark. No more stalling, you’ve got to parallel-park before we can head home. After this stop sign, try parallel-parking behind that first car on the right-hand side of the street, the dark one.”
Fearing the car parked on the street, Doris almost drove into oncoming traffic. Looking at her, I raised my voice, “You’ve got to get closer to the parked car…” Panicking, she jerked the wheel to the right. Instantly, I heard crunching metal and Doris scream. She had rammed the parked vehicle! To make matters worse, she tried to drive away.
“What’re you doin’?” I yelled. “You can’t leave the scene of an accident. You’ll never get a license and I’ll lose mine!” We sat in the stopped car arguing before she finally pulled over.
Getting out of dad’s car, I assessed the damage. “Doris, we’ve got to find the owner and report this.”
Frightened, she stayed in the car as I walked up the sidewalk. The first house I approached turned out to be the owner’s, so I signaled her to join me. Once inside, I did the talking. While the gentleman copied dad’s insurance card, I noticed a trophy cabinet filled with marksmanship awards.
“I guess you’re pretty good with guns,” I commented.
For the first time, I took a closer look at him. Besides his white undershirt, I realized he was wearing dark pants with shiny stripes down the sides, and shiny black walking shoes. “Are you a cop?” I blurted out.
“Sure am, Missy. Good thing you got your friend here to stop. I looked out my window just as she hit my car, and wrote down your plate number too.”
Funny thing happened that night; I got blamed for Doris’s suspended permit and that Tim had to know. After all, I chose a cop’s private car for her to park behind.
Months later, Doris enrolled in Driving 101, realizing she’d skipped a step. DMV knew she needed to start with basic training before she could develop into a good driver, worthy of a license.
That year I too realized I had skipped a step, spiritually. God knew I needed to start with basic training in His Word* before I could develop into a mature Christian, ready for my calling. I enrolled in Bible 101.
*1 Corinthians 3:2 (NIV) “I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready.”
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