For years, I had traveled comfortably ensconced in the backseat. I was never in the driving seat; never a driver. And I was not a ‘backseat driver’ either. That didn’t mean I had no voice or that I didn’t use the voice I had. However, the fact that I had a voice and voiced my opinions didn’t put me in the driving seat, simply because I knew what I felt, but I didn’t feel what I said. No hypocrisy there, no double standards, just plain lack of confidence in my own abilities. Always an iota of doubt that kept me from taking the reins on my own. I needed a crutch all the time. Please do note, in my favor, I did not use the plural of the word – crutch. I walked but with a limp. If I drove I would be a leg too short for the accelerator and the brake. It wouldn’t be an ideal situation; I would be on a crash course all the time, literally. So though being in the driver’s seat would have been the right thing, I lacked the right leg and the related right push to drive myself. My confidence limped!
I was and still am a dreamer. I dreamed big. I worked hard, and I fought harder to release myself from my insecurities; from my crutch. I lost every battle. There were only a few who encouraged me; my father and some friends. The ratio of encouraging and discouraging factors was certainly not in my favor and didn’t give me the requisite support I needed…and I required more than an awful lot.
I tended to see myself through other people’s eyes, which is the worst thing to do. There were more negatives than positives. Though I did believe the positive feedback, the majority’s attitude always swung me back and forth like a pendulum between doubt and belief. My confidence was in place but it was fragile – handle with care fragile. It didn’t take more than a tiny pebble to send it crashing.
There comes a time, for those who dream, to realize their fondest desires. There comes a time, for those who wish to fly, to spread their wings and jump off the cliff. There comes a time when destiny calls for you to step out of the boat and walk on water. There comes a time to strengthen your faith and put it into action. There comes a time when you have to pay dearly, sometimes, to walk alone without a crutch. My time came too. My world crashed. My crutch with it too.
I became a widow…a young, not worldly-wise savvy, scared, less-than-confident widow.
I had two options; become fully lame or walk on my two feet. I was on the brink of something new, something unknown. Should I be scared and cower under the covers or should I take a leap of faith? It was the worst nightmare of a fragile, china doll dreamer. I had a month to decide…a twenty-eight day month…I didn’t even get a thirty-one day month!
“Through all the fears, one rose dominant and petrifying: the fear that I would not be able to protect, fend for and educate my children.This seemingly crippling emotion worked as my strongest motivator. All the hidden strengths surfaced: determination, perseverance, resilience, faith, hope, and love. I was in the driving seat. My seatbelt was trust, the airbags were faith and God was my driving instructor! (Joy Clarkson)
I made my choice.
Within three months I was in the driver’s seat. Ignorant, nervous, scared, anxious, incompetent and very insecure. I didn’t know the rules and I lacked practical experience. I was totally unaware of the unruly drivers on this highway called life. This is when the weaker me began to grow stronger. Through all the fears, one rose dominant and petrifying: the fear that I would not be able to protect, fend for and educate my children. This seemingly crippling emotion worked as my strongest motivator. All the hidden strengths surfaced: determination, perseverance, resilience, faith, hope, and love. I was in the driving seat. My seatbelt was trust, the airbags were faith and God was my driving instructor! I had my share of bumps and dents, scrapes and near head-on collisions. I guess I had shifted gears too soon. I had moved from not confident to over-confident too fast and I became too self-assured for my own safety. But I had a teachable spirit; one that learned lessons, sometimes the hard way! But all things considered, I had an enriching long drive, in the driver’s seat for twenty-one years, on the highway called life.
But all things come to an end, period.
Do all things come to an end, period?
As it is written, God opens doors and shuts doors. So when one door closes another opens and vice versa. Well, my license to drive expired. That’s a closed-door now. Will it be renewed or is it time to relax and enjoy the luxury of traveling in a chauffeur driven automobile? I am an incorrigible dreamer. I still have some dreams to realize, and whether this is one of them or not is immaterial, what matters is: I dream and I hope. I not only live, I am alive.
This time round, sitting in the backseat is different. It is just that, a literal thing, not an analogy of my life!