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Paving The Way

A couple of years ago I was driving to work as usual. The day didn’t feel any different. It didn’t start out different. But little did I know that only a short 10 minutes or so after leaving my house that morning that I would never actually make it to work.

It was January, so of course the weather wasn’t pleasant. The roads, while not snow covered, were still very slushy and slippery. As I was coming around a bend on a ramp that is slightly banked my back end all of a sudden went out from under me. I tried to correct it but it was no use. I felt my right back end clip the concrete barrier which sent me into a panic as I again tried to correct myself but ended up making it worse. It was my front end that hit the concrete barrier this time which somehow sent me spinning across the highway and head on into the concrete barrier on the other side of the highway. Eventually bringing my vehicle to a complete stop.

I had never been in an accident like that before. I remember screaming when my van started spinning out of control. It was out of my hands at that point. There was nothing I could do except wait for the impact. When the van finally came to a stop, both airbags deployed. The first thing I did was put my van in park and turn off the ignition. Which, looking back now makes me laugh. Where did I think the van was going after that? I think I had seen too many movies with car explosions in my lifetime. In my defence though, there was a little bit of smoke coming out of my hood so I guess in my mind, I was being extra safe. You know…just in case.

I stumbled out of the van, in shock, and attempted to wave one of the passing cars down for help. But everyone just kept driving by. Finally a lady pulled over and asked if I was okay. She let me sit in the backseat of her car while she called the ambulance. She was on her way to work as well. I was so thankful I didn’t have to wait out in the cold.

When I finally was able to get checked out at the hospital and take a full inventory of my injuries, I realized it could have been a LOT worse. The saving grace from that day was that the highway wasn’t overly busy like it usually is. Otherwise I would have ended up in a pin ball machine, getting smacked and bounced around by other cars. I walked away with a laceration on my right knee from it hitting the steering wheel, bruising under my chin from the airbag punching me in the face (which also had knocked my glasses off of my face) and some internal bruising from the seatbelt keeping me in my seat. All of that, while still not enjoyable, seems pretty tame to what it could have been had there been other cars around. I was, and still am very thankful it was just my van that died that day.

Because of the car accident I had, I get very nervous about driving in any kind of bad weather; rain, snow, high winds. Anything that doesn’t resemble sunshine and blue skies. My hands clench the steering wheel till my fingers hurt. I’ve even had moments where I’ve teared up because I’m terrified I’ll have another accident. My heart races and I refuse to drive anywhere near the speed limit. Which is something I don’t understand…how are people still driving top speed in horrible weather conditions? Even the 4×4 pick up trucks who think they own the road, and yes they can barrel through but still…why risk it?

We had our first giant snowstorm this year recently and it was a doozy. So you can imagine how nervous I was driving to and from work, or anywhere else for that matter. I even forced myself to drive to church that Sunday…and ended up getting stuck on 3 separate occasions in one day! My biggest concern of course were the highways. That’s usually where all of the major accidents happen and the idea of that made me start to think about my accident again. But it actually wasn’t the highways that were as bad as I thought. And it wasn’t the highway that I ended up getting stuck in 3 times. It was the side roads that the plows hadn’t gotten to as often that were worse. The highways, much to my surprise and relief were, while not ideal, weren’t so bad, so long as you were careful and took your time. I remember seeing so many snow plows out for quite a few days straight and being so thankful for them, working so hard to clear a pathway. These guys work really long hours, sometimes for days at a time. On my way home from work late at night, I ended up driving slowly behind a whole fleet of snowplow trucks and you know what? I didn’t mind a bit. God bless’em! It made me feel so much better knowing that they were ahead of me, paving the way so that I could get home safely.

Driving very slowly behind snow plows all the way home didn’t bother me. I was patient and very okay with that. I knew it was for my safety and general well-being. But in general, I’m not always a patient person. I’ve improved over the years, quite a bit, which I’m proud of. But I still tend to get impatient, even if I don’t necessarily show it, when I’m waiting for something or if I’m wanting something to happen quicker than it is. Especially when there is nothing I can do about it and I have to force myself to wait…patiently. That’s the worst!

Example? This whole court mess that I’m in right now with my ex has definitely taught me patience, among other things. I just want it to be over so I can move on with my life. I feel like my life has been in limbo the past year or so and I hate feeling stuck. But it’s a process and there’s nothing I can do about it so all I can do is take it one day at at time. And most days, even that is asking too much. Sometimes it’s taking it just one single moment at a time. But if that’s what it takes for me to come out on the other side of this thing better and not bitter, than that’s what I have to do. Small steps. Slow and steady wins the race, right? Why can’t it be quick and steady?! See what I mean? Im.pat.ient.

Trusting God in the painfully slow, take your bless-ed time, parts of life is one of the hardest things. Ever. Especially if you’re impatient like me. I just want to get the hard parts over with and get to the good stuff, ya know? Why wait if I can do something right now? It could be anything really. Job or career move, relationships, getting your dreams off the ground, procrastinating on that thing that you’ve wanted to do and getting the nerve to do it etc. Wanting to get to the good stuff isn’t a bad thing. We all want it. The good stuff. Preferably without any kind of waiting or hard times or roadblocks of any kind. Sounds good to me.

It got me thinking, why am I patient and willing to wait for something like a snow plow to make sure my path is safe and clear but still so impatient for anything else in my life to run it’s course??

I think for most of us, we tend to think that we know best and would prefer to take things into our hands. It’s really tough to back off and let God do His thing. However, something I have learned from experience is that we often create our own messes when we force things rather than wait. Worry, anxiety, impatience can all breed poor decision making and in turn, reap the unwanted and unforeseen consequences. I have learned that no matter how much I want something or how much I want to speed up the process by taking matters into my own hands, nothing good can possibly come by forcibly bending a situation to my will.

Without a doubt, there have been times where God has looked out for me or protected me even when I’ve gotten myself into a mess; over and over…aaaannnd over again. He’s faithful like that. So I can only imagine how many times he’s had my back that I’ll never even know about this side of eternity. That thought alone not only makes me thankful but it also helps me to put things into perspective. To be patient. To allow situations to have the space that is necessary for maturity and growth that will eventually reap rewards and benefits long term rather than rushing or trying to force things which only breeds disaster and disappointment.

Just like the snow plows that were working so hard that night, paving the way to make sure I got home safely, the same is true about my life. I may have made choices in my past that perhaps took me the long way around. But that doesn’t mean that I still won’t get to my destination. It’s just taking longer than expected. Slow and steady may not be my preferred method of choice, but many times it is God’s. And this time around I understand why. He didn’t promise the conditions would always be perfect getting there, but He did promise to get us there. Regardless of what it looks like. He goes ahead of us, paving the way. Making it clear.

After everything that I’ve been through, I’m much more willing to allow things to take their course, not only to give time for that thing to be ready for me, but more importantly, so that I am who I’m supposed to be. So that I am ready.