Sunday’s Scripture ~ Deuteronomy 15:15; Ezekiel 36:31; and Revelation 2:5
My first car was a small four-door gold Saturn sedan with beige interior and super dark window tint. Her name was Gina. Gina made me feel like I was just the coolest. Not only did Gina have a tape deck, but my parents bought me a tape deck adapter that I could plug into my portable discern to listen to CDs in my car. I know – you’re impressed! With Mariah Carey blaring through my speakers, I was unstoppable!
One day I was driving to school in Gina. I was two subdivisions down from my own when I realized I did not have my school ID card. I turned into the Lexington Green subdivision, made a three point turn, and proceeded back to the main road. I stopped at the entrance before making my left hand turn and then WHAM!
I pulled out in front of a fellow student at my high school. His car was older than mine – more steel than fiberglass. His vehicle sustained minor damages, but Gina…Gina did not make it.
Rest in peace…pieces?
It took me a while to start driving again. My parents wanted me and my nerves to calm down after the accident, and rightly so. I was not afraid to start driving again. I was ashamed to start driving again.
The main road where I caused the accident was the only way to and from my subdivision and a number of others in that section of North Lakeland. So no matter if I was coming or going I would have to drive by the scene of my disgrace. And in doing so I would be forced to remember…
- My failure to look twice before turning.
- The sound of steel crushing fiberglass.
- The look of other high school students staring down the accident scene on their way to school.
- My call to my mother that I wrecked the car.
I did not want to face any of that. I did not want to remember. But it seemed unavoidable. There was no other way to accomplish my daily commute. So I had to grit my teeth and bear it.
At first I would drive past the scene without looking to that side of the road. I would plan major karaoke moments so I was caught up in song when I drove that way. I would do whatever I needed to do for the sake of not remembering.
And none of them worked. I remembered. And I felt ashamed.
One day while I was in college I was again driving past the scene of my accident and the shame started descending. Until I stopped myself. I stopped myself and asked God to help me feel something different when I drove through that intersection. In mere seconds God’s peace overcame me. Through God’s peace I realized I did not need to feel ashamed at what I caused. That was not the lesson to take away from that moment in time. The lesson – God’s lesson – to take away was one of gratefulness – grateful that I walked away unharmed, grateful that my parents had the resources – like car insurance – to help our family move forward, grateful that I learned the valuable lesson of looking twice before turning left.
I would not have realized these lessons if I had not asked God for the courage to remember and grow from a difficult moment in my life.
I am not sure I will have the occasion to drive by that subdivision in coming years as my parents moved to the south end of town. Nevertheless, I will always remember that day from my senior year in high school – not with shame but with gratitude.
I believe we have lessons to learn every day – even on our hardest days. God gives us courage to learn those lessons…and God gives us the grace of space to learn those lessons when the time is right.
Consider – what days are hard for you to remember? What do those days – those memories – cause you to feel? What does God want you to learn from those days and memories? God’s courage is available to you. Ask. Receive. Remember. And learn.
Prayer: “O for a thousand tongues to sing my great Redeemer’s praise, the glories of my God and King, the triumphs of his grace! In Christ, your head, you then shall know, shall feel your sins forgiven; anticipate your heaven below, and own that love is heaven.”* Amen.
*”O For A Thousand Tongues To Sing,” The United Methodist Hymnal 57.