Behind the wheel—with God

Driving downtown in heavy traffic was exciting. I was in my last year of high school and on my way to pick up my senior pictures. The sky was a cloudless blue, and the late afternoon sun lit the air with a soft golden glow. I was in a world of my own as I drove and sang. 

Stopping for a red light, I saw the sign for the street where I was supposed to turn left. Without thinking or even looking in my rearview mirror, I turned left from the right lane. The driver behind me was totally unprepared for this move and smashed into the side of my car. 

Shocked but unhurt, I looked up and saw the driver of the other car yelling and waving his arms at me. What was I doing turning left from the right lane? And without even signaling? 

It was intimidating, but right then I remembered my Christian Science Sunday School teacher telling me that if I were ever in an accident, I should turn immediately to God and know that I was in His care. I did this and also prayed the Lord’s Prayer. Instead of fear, I started to feel the presence of divine Love. All self-condemnation and shame left me. Calm filled my thoughts, and I was grateful to know that everyone involved was also in God’s care. 

I saw the driver of the other car yelling and waving his arms at me.

A police car drove up. The man stopped yelling. I apologized for what had happened and then was able to call my parents. A tow truck came and towed the car away, and I felt so grateful that no one had been injured. In spite of the fact that I had made a pretty big mistake, turning to God in prayer that day gave me the spiritual grace to survive the situation with composure—and to learn to do better going forward.

I had felt that having a driver’s license and being behind the wheel of a car were thrilling and gave me freedom. But until that day, I hadn’t really considered the responsibility that came with those things. After this experience, though, I began to reflect on my driving as more than just a ticket to independence. I was starting to realize that it was really an opportunity to put my God-given qualities of patience, discernment, and love for others into practice. 

I realized that keeping these qualities in mind as I drove was a way of praying. I began to see myself and everyone else on the road as fully capable expressions of the one Mind, moving in harmony with each other. I prayed to respect the other drivers as well as to understand that God was the intelligence of each of us and that we were each obedient to His direction. 

I was starting to realize that driving was an opportunity to put my God-given qualities of patience, discernment, and love for others into practice.

I also realized that I could pray not to feel tempted to talk on my cellphone or to do anything else that would keep me from paying attention to what was happening on the road. I could still enjoy the feeling of freedom that came with driving, but I was now putting the safety and well-being of others above my desire to have fun. And I tried to be consistently aware that God is the source of every driver’s—and passenger’s—safety. 

From this experience, I learned that growing up can be exciting, but it also gives us lots of opportunities to grow closer to God and to learn more about His ever-presence—which is how we can feel safe in every situation and on every new adventure.

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