Sunday, July 5, 2020

Jesus Take The Wheel

Alternate title: Some Things Never (Seem To) Change

Eventually, we bought four-wheelers and for a while, we spent our brief weekends traipsing through the woods. It felt like freedom.

On one of those late afternoons, somewhere in the country, I took the wheel (handlebars) and drove back and forth through a giant mud-puddle, screaming, "I can drive the [SCAT] out of this thing! I can drive the [SCAT] out of it!"


It's a wonder I didn't die that day. I never changed gears on the thing and probably had one hand in the air like the yippee-ki-ode to stupidity that it was. I couldn't drive the anything out of anything.  Although...

There was this one time at tech school... 

For context, I was nineteen. My two-year-old daughter and I were living with my mom and step-dad while I attended classes at Columbus Technical Institute. I was going to be a ... [something great.] I'd only learned to drive in the previous year and frequently visited my dad on weekends forty miles north of home.

So one Saturday, my chevy omega wouldn't crank and I had to leave it at my dad's house until he could figure it out. The next day, I borrowed my mom's car to go back to my dad's because I'd left my school books in my car. When it was time to leave, my mom's car would't crank.

Now there's some history here between my mom and dad that I suspect I don't completely know. Suffice it to say, my mom told me not to let my dad touch her car and that I'd better drive it back "right now."

So I did. I started driving that car right on back to her. Never mind that for 10 miles from my dad's house, it smoked and gurgled and lurched. I was driving that car back "Right. Now."

And then, as I was dragging the thing up a hill, parts started to fall off of the car and roll down the road behind me. There began to be roiling smoke from under the hood, such that I couldn't see to drive it if I'd wanted to. And clearly ~ I wanted to.

When the power steering went out, I finally thought it might not make it the next 30 miles and so I pulled into a driveway. You need to know that it is Super Rural between my dad's and mom's houses. There are no neighborhoods, just random gated driveways. So I got out of the car and tried the gate that was 300' feet from the house, but found it locked. When I turned back to the car, the hood was a HUGE bubble of very angry metal. I looked past it to see my baby girl in the backseat, and that's when I freaked.

I grabbed her and ran for the (literal) woods. There was a dirt road that led to another house where people let me in to use the phone. When we came back out, there was a plume of black smoke rising above the trees. When the firetrucks arrived, all that was left of my mom's cavalier station wagon was the frame and steel tire threads.

Even my books were gone!

It's ironic in a way because when my mom first bought the car ~ I think it was probably her first ever brand new vehicle ~ I must have been about twelve years old, and for some stupid reason, I didn't know what the cigarette lighter was for and so I tested it on the upholstery of the front seat. So in a way, I did sort of finish what I started.

Lord, my poor parents!

Anyhow, there's a reason I'm telling all of this. It's in hindsight that I can see I have certain personality traits that seem to withstand the test of time, despite all my efforts to mature and change. I am driven and determined ~ or ~ I am stubborn and stupid-acting. It's possibly a very fine line.

My get it done/I can do it/do it myself mentality has brought me a long way ~ or so I tell myself when I am deciding how to do a thing. In truth, it's a real wonder I've made it this far, and while I'd like to toot my own horn, tell you stories that illustrate my tenacity, it's by God's grace that I'm still here to tell anything at all.

I pray that if there's one solid shining truth that makes it through all of my stories and nonsense, it's Jesus. I'd be nowhere and nothing without him.