Monday, March 5, 2012

Encouragement From Behind the Wheel of Grandpa's Car

In 2011, I hit the 10-year anniversary of getting my driver's license. I took the test in a difficult city (San Bernardino) at a difficult time of day (rush hour) in a difficult car (a mini van).

But I passed.

Soon after I received my license, my grandparents came down from Utah to visit my California family. They had just bought a brand-new car, a Oldsmobile Alero and I was sure that I had never seen anything so sporty in real life. I am obviously not a car aficionado.

My grandpa tossed me the keys soon after his arrival. "Want to drive it?" he offered.

And soon, he and I were buckling our seat belts inside the silver compact car. I simply drove around the block and enjoyed the benefits of driving a car with under a thousand miles on it—good suspension, excellent brakes, and especially the air freshener my grandma had chosen. We pulled in front of my house, and I thanked my grandpa for the great opportunity.

He climbed out of the car and said, "I was proud of you when you were pulling out—you did a great job trusting that you had put the car in the right direction, while making sure that everything behind you was working in your favor."

My grandpa was my emotional kindred spirit; I remember so many times before he passed away in 2003 that I thought, "No one understands how I feel, except Grandpa Chatfield." Any kind of compliment from him meant the world to me, but for some reason, that driving compliment has stuck with me.

Presently, I feel like my "car," a.k.a. my life, is not pointing in the right direction. I struggle because I am not the only driver; Caleb influences all of my choices, as do my children. The things that I felt worked in my favor previously all feel impossibly far away and unattainable now.

I wish Grandpa were here now to tell me that he is proud of me anyway.

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