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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: First (as in original) (01/10/05)

TITLE: Weary of Tumbleweeds and Gravel
By Glenn A. Hascall


“Let the clutch out slowly,” Dad was saying.

All I had in mind was racing the engine trying to get it to move forward.

“The clutch, Son, let the clutch out...” before he could finish speaking I did let the clutch out. The car lurched forward violently and died, quivering in pain.

“Start the car,” Dad instructed. I did, which of course was followed by more vehicular violence. “Push your foot in on the clutch first, then turn the key.”

I did. No more whip lash.

“Slowly let the clutch out and lightly accelerate.” The car began to move. “You still have your foot on the clutch.” As I removed the offending foot the car gave a spectacular show of what it must feel like to ride a bull. Once more it died.

There was only one minor consolation in all of this misery and that was that I was driving on a little used dirt road out in the country.

I tried so hard but every time I would dump the clutch and the car would shudder its disapproval. Dad would simply repeat the steps which I could hear in my dream, “Press in on the clutch, put car in gear, let out on the clutch and lightly press the accelerator.”

There came a moment when I finally got the car moving and my foot was no longer on the clutch. The engine began to whine as I traveled faster. ”Press in on the clutch and shift to second gear.” I pressed in on the clutch and accidentally tried to put it in reverse, oh the wailing and gnashing of gears. Once I got the car in second gear we were going slow enough that it only shivered and died.

“That’s it,” I yelled. “I’m never going to learn to drive. This is just too hard, Dad.”

I exited the car and looked back and forth along the deserted stretch of country road. My dad never moved from his spot in the passenger’s side of the car. He never called after me. He didn’t even turn to look at me.

When I got tired of looking at tumbleweeds and gravel I walked back to the car.

I was about to say something when dad simply said, “Press in on the clutch, put car in gear, let out on the clutch and lightly press the accelerator.”

This was a day that I will remember for time to come. I was so angry with my dad. He could see that I was having struggles; he could see I didn’t want to do this thing called driving, he could see how frustrated I was becoming yet he made me do it anyway. He never yelled, he never argued, he never criticized but he wouldn’t move from the passenger’s seat either.

If we were going to get back to town it was because I did the hard thing in front of me and learned to drive. He could have done it all for me but he wisely chose not to.

I am suddenly struck by the fact that our relationship with God can seem so much like learning to drive. We don’t understand how it is supposed to work, we read the instructions but they don’t seem to help. God’s instructions are clear but we can’t seem to understand it all. We get mad thinking that God somehow got things wrong or that He’s asking too much of us and we storm away waiting for Him to come to His senses.

He waits knowing that we will someday come back to Him for help and while we struggle to understand His will, He leaves us with the assurance, “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Joshua 1:5 – NIV).

Suddenly I realize I’m tired at looking at tumbleweeds and gravel.

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This article has been read 1186 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Suzanne R01/17/05
Beautifully written ... I especially love the phrase 'vehicular violence'! I can identify ... only my father gave up and eventually paid for a professional to teach me. Just as well our heavenly Father never gives up ... and one day we get it. A great article - thanks.
Joanne Malley01/17/05
Your article held my interest and was written with ease. I loved the analogy you used. Jo
darlene hight01/17/05
I think that we could swap stories. Only my friend taught me to drive on river road. Very scarey! Fun read and great application.
Al Boyce01/17/05
Good descriptions. I just taught my twin 16-year-olds to drive (on a standard transmission) and this is just how it went :-) But we don't have tumbleweeds in North Carolina.
Hope Horner01/17/05
Very well-written and extrememly enjoyable to read. I could see this unfolding in my mind.
One nit-picky thing...
It seems like the last line should have read "Suddenly WE realise WE are tired of looking at tumbleweeds and gravel." (Intead of "I") Since the paragraph above that line is using the "us" and "we" tense.
God bless!
Kathy Cartee01/17/05
Very well written and reminds me so much of learning to drive, only my husband gave up and his sister took over.
Thank God for his plans always have a way of working out and He never gives up on us even when we fail.
Sally Hanan01/17/05
I really liked this, especially the comparison to riding a bull.
L.M. Lee01/17/05
Oh boy...do I remember learning to drive with a clutch...and oh the patience of my dad.
Angie Schulte01/17/05
Great story! You put me right back in that VW bug I learned to drive in. We had a hill about a mile from our house, and I killed that standard more times than I can recall. SOmetimes, getting home took a while. THanks for taking me back and remembering the patience by which my parents waited and waited and waited.
Tesiri Moweta01/18/05
I feel you - learning to drive was quite complicated for me too but it is such a comfort to know that God is always there- ready to even out things for us. Great entry! I really enjoyed it! Keep winning and shining for Jesus.
Karen Deikun01/18/05
I was hooked from the first word. Good story - great analogy.
DeAnna Brooks01/18/05
You had me from 'the get-go'... and I wanted out of the driverseat and into that passenger seat. God must chuckle as times...and other times....well, quiet fits.
Your gripping analogy will never leave driving quite the same for me. On the road home, I can't help but wonder if we don't want the driver's seat tpp fast and too often. I'm so grateful the Lord is patient.

Shelly Robinson01/18/05
This was great reading. But beyond that it really ministered to me, as I find myself presently staring at some tumbleweeds and gravel. From beginning to end, your writing really said something.
Kelly Klepfer01/18/05
Memory provoking. To this day I don't parallel park, because I gave up at 16. Most of the time it doesn't hinder me, hmmmmm any spiritual application there? Ha, Ha. Thanks for the interesting read, and the reminder. Maybe I need to tackle parallel parking!!!!
Debbie OConnor01/18/05
Just great! Loved every line. I hate tumbleweeds and gravel, but you sure paint a vivid picture.
Deborah Anderson01/22/05
I loved this story, and I loved your Dad. I could see it all unfolding and your humor made me laugh. Great job and well written. God bless you.
Deborah Porter 01/24/05
Glenn, I guess as the Co-ordinator I shouldn't admit that I picked this was yours (and I'm sure I wasn't alone). Good story, wonderful Dad and excellent message - as always. Congratulations on your Highly Commended Award in a Level with a very high standard of competition. Love, Deb