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Wednesday, 17 October 2012

The eye of the storm

I love driving.

When I passed my driving test, conscious that I had no-one to ask questions of or drive around with, I took the 'Pass Plus' - a few extra optional lessons taking a new driver through 'advanced' driving conditions. Soooooo, motorway driving, night time driving and driving in the rain are conditions that are covered. All these are however not meant to be covered on the same day. 
The 3rd of the 6 scheduled lessons covers motorway driving. 

Sooooo, the day for the 3rd lesson arrives bright and sunny and I am excited at the thought of being on a motorway. Driving with instructor unto 50mph motorway, I am fine until the road speed limit increases to 70mph. Okay, still fine with this, I move up to the new speed limit, then huge trucks begin whizzing by and the force makes the car rock. Gripping the steering wheel, I try to relax, tell my heart to stop racing when someone cuts across me, and I manage not to cuss my instructor when he motions me out of the 'slow' lane, into the middle lane! I still don't cuss him out when he motions me to overtake another car. A few miles of this, I actually stop flinching when trucks shoot by, begin to smile smugly thinking I am getting the hang of this, when suddenly the heavens open and heavy rain begins to pelt down.

Now, I can barely see 5 metres in front of me, trucks are still zooming past doing 80mph, and I am convinced 'I am coming home, coming home. Tell the Lord I'm coming home'. (Apologies to P Diddy for mangling his words).. Despite every nerve screaming otherwise, I am able (barely!) to stop myself swerving off the road, heading for the hard shoulder and turning off the engine and having an emotional breakdown! Creeping forward, trying to peer through the rain obscuring the windscreen, and the wipers which cannot keep up, reminding GOD desperately 'dat I get pikin for house', I attempt to calm down. But it gets worse! The rain becomes a storm! Thunder rumbles, lightning flashes, rain sleets down, and I am barely stopping myself SCREAMING!!

Then in typical UK fashion, it becomes pitch dark! A thunderstorm, heavy rain, a windscreen I cannot see out of, the noise of the wipers driving me crazy, a motorway full of impatient cars and now thick darkness??? This was more than a baptism of fire!

When we finally got my shaky, sweat-laden self back home after this waking nightmare, my instructor said nonchalantly, 'That went well and guess what? We also covered night-time driving and driving in adverse weather conditions. Okay next lesson, we'll do driving down narrow country roads.' I could have killed him on the spot!

A week after this stormy baptism, I found myself having to go to Gatwick to pick someone up. So there I am on the motorway by myself less than 2 weeks after passing my main driving test. (The Pass Plus is not a driving test). 5.30am in the morning, it was dark, raining, and extremely foggy, there were horrible road works, I could barely see 5 metres ahead, heavy trucks were whizzing by me, my daft car kept jerking to the left, I didn't know how to get there and was attempting to navigate my way with a map, but despite these less than ideal conditions, my heart was totally at peace. Fear was gone.

What that horrible 'Pass Plus' day did for me was it made me 'fearless' on the road. I still don't like particularly like driving in heavy rain or snow but it doesn't scare me in anyway. However, I do love driving very very much (I can't park well to save my life but that's a different story!! LOL). As for motorways? I love em and the ability to drive very fast on them! And I totally adore night time driving. To relax, I'll go for a long drive at night - whizzing down a dark motorway, air-conditioner blowing, music pumping, is a feeling of total happiness!

Sometimes, GOD will put us (or allow us to go) through testing trying conditions to make us stronger. During the period we are going through the storm, our teeth chatter, our knuckles whiten, and our hearts race. We see death and disaster around every corner - however, there's one thing to remember. The instructor is sitting right by you, ready to take over if you run into trouble or conditions you cannot cope with. And once you've come through that test and conquered that storm, that situation ceases to faze you. You'll fearlessly stride through similar conditions later. Faith has arisen and grown, GOD is trusted more. 


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