One thing I love about taking time to wonder as I work to embrace the word this year is how the most profound revelations come in the simplest of moments.
Take, for example, when I was backing up my new car the other day.
I have had the car about a week, and the entire reason I got it was because I was rear ended and my other car got totaled. It’s scenarios like this one that I recently experienced that do not make me a huge fan of driving. One might even say that I get a little paranoid when it comes to backing up, driving in big cities, on major highways, or other such things. (Okay, people have actually said these things because they might be true.)
I have let fear convince me to envision the worst case scenarios when it comes to driving. Sometimes it’s funny, but other times it’s just ridiculous. I have imaginary wrecks when I’m backing out of a parking spot at least a couple of times a month even though it’s never actually happened. Okay, okay, there was that one time I knocked my rear view mirror off when backing out the garage, but that was a long time ago.
Even so, it only took that one time to make me realize it could happen, so I hold my breath and/or work to not hyperventilate 8 out of 10 times that I back out of a parking spot or garage.
This is why I was delighted that my new car is equipped with a backup camera. This is the first vehicle I have owned that includes this feature, and while I’m still adjusting to it, I knew that it would be good for me to actually be able to see what is behind me since I tend to imagine a maze of fictitious objects are ready to jump out at me.
The other day I found myself in a tight parking lot and decided this would be the perfect opportunity for me to practice using the camera. There were actual cars, a tree, and a massive dumpster all hanging out in this parking lot, and prior to having the camera, I would have been tempted to just off-road my way out of there. I have tested the validity of this camera, however, so I knew it was okay to push myself. I backed up right towards that dumpster and didn’t even come close to hitting it, thank you very much. I even backed into a parking spot. Nothing insane happened, but I saw some realities I’ve been blinded to for a long time.
- The truth is the truth no matter how much you want to convince yourself that it’s not. There is a literal camera above the license plate of my car. It has a front-row view to any potential threat to the rear of my car. It even has lines that show where I need to use caution and slow down. Before having the backup camera, I had believed for years that I must be close to hitting something when I had never actually come close to doing so. My perception of the truth did not match reality, and this ties in nicely with the next thing that I realized from this simple little experience.
- Fear is a powerful and convincing force in this world. There are times we are all motivated by fear, whether they be irrational fears that become endearing quirks or legitimate fears that come from painful realities. No matter what kind of fear we are facing, it shouldn’t be allowed to become our decision maker. When fear rules our actions, we have lost sight of what is right. Fear is sneaky. It can take one element of truth in a messed up situation and twist it even further, thus taking us prisoner. Our actions submit to the twisted truth and we stop being as effective as we could be.
I started laughing about halfway through my time in reverse in that parking lot because I could see the truth for the first time. I have been a prisoner to an irrational fear for as long as I can remember, but one simple look at the truth set me free.
From one human to another, I’d like to encourage anyone else who gets hung up on the lies that fear feeds us every day to look for the Truth. It’s usually far more simple than the convoluted ritual we’ve grown accustomed to living out, and the result leads to being free to move in ways you didn’t yet know were possible.