Two weeks ago, our son got his learners permit. In our marriage, where my wife and I value equality, since I was the one to drive him to the DMV; walk into the DMV; wait for at least five minutes (I might be rounding up here by the way); pay for his licenses; and then...just a second here I have to catch my breath because of all I have done so far...drive him back home ~ I figured I had really done my part. So, my wife graciously and generously has been doing most of the instruction.
The surreal experience has reminded us just how complex these cars we drive are. There was the moment when my wife told him to turn on his turn signal when pulling out of the parking lot where he was initially practicing, to which the response was, "Um, where is that?!" Why should he know where the turn signal is? It is easy to forget how many buttons and gizmos there are staring back at you in a car. And don't even get me started on round-abouts, because that traffic invention seems to break a number of rules all at once.
In some ways that is like life...especially today. We stare at endless news cycle...that is compounded by social media (our friends and family responding to that news cycle)...too many stories of violence and hurt and harm and mean things being said (perhaps we don't ever outgrow our inner middle school self) ~ so I can sometimes feel like a new driver white-knuckle grip on the wheel of life. I can sometimes feel like my son asking, "Where do I turn off this road we are traveling on?"
But after a few weeks of standing on the sidelines safely observing all this...it was my turn on Thursday to move from the drivers seat to the passenger seat. Mind you, I still remember the day we brought our son home from the hospital and in was in an infant car seat in the back and the day he graduated to a booster seat...and the first time he sat up front. Thankfully we were coming home from church, so I felt a connection to God.
And because God has a great sense of humor this was the first time our son had: driven at dusk AND driven in rain AND had to deal with my anxiety which filled the car.
And he did...
I am so proud of how he listened...tried to stay aware of what was around him...and made it home safely.
Maybe we don't ever really graduate in this life from having our "learners permit". We are constantly traveling new roads with different signs and changing conditions. Maybe we are all trying to figure out how to respond to the rain storms and other drivers and trying to be safe. Maybe we are all feel that stress and strain of someone in the passenger seat giving advice (whether we wanted it or not) and our sister in the back seat making jokes. Maybe learning to drive isn't something we ever master - but perhaps that isn't the point. Because there was more than a trace of grace to see the smile on our son's face when we got home on Thursday. Maybe it be so for you and me as we travel life's road today.