As I sit here typing out this next installment, the sound of rain is quietly lulling me to sleep. Maybe it’s the fact that I have managed to work a fourteen hour work day, that could have something to do with it. Is more than worth it though. I honestly do have one of the best jobs ever. Getting to watch people understand a concept that I have explained in different ways, at different times and to different degrees is beyond rewarding and one of life’s biggest gifts. While I was talking with some dear friends the other night the statement “You can’t steer a parked car.”came into conversation. Being a group of young women our conversation turned quickly to waiting, where we were, and wondering why certain things we had always thought would happen, hadn’t happened to the degree we had once perceived. Funny isn’t it how each day, in whole new ways, we all seem to learn that lesson over and over again. Those light bulb moments happen all of the time. Sometimes the lesson is small and painless, at other times growing pains are beyond real. We stumble, we fall and yet God is there to pick us up and encourage us to carry on. I know for a fact that I can be the queen bee of the struggle bus.
“YOU can’t steer a parked car .” How does one move something so large and “unmovable” If we aren’t in drive or even reverse how are we supposed to move on to bigger and better things? It made me pause and think about other quotes I had read or heard before that had impacted my life. How true this simple quote was to life and the adventures of life that can follow everything we do. If we sit and do nothing for ourselves how do we move anywhere in life? Sure it can be super scary and unsettling to do something that is out of the ordinary but what about when we take a giant leap of faith and do something we would have never thought possible. Where does it take us and why did we feel the need to do so? Perhaps it is the thrill of something new, or the want for something more?
The conversation turned quickly to how some people just sit around waiting for the perfect story to just happen. It is as if they are the star of their own perfectly, perfect movie, their handsome hero comes riding in on a white horse, saves them from the monotony of dishes, work, laundry and other mundane housework and they are rescued from the fear of one day being all alone. The fear of being alone for rest of her life was a very a real reaction to what life might not lead my friend to. What if she never found the one she had been waiting for and was left alone in her old age. My heart broke a little a bit, that the fear of being alone was such a real and true fear for one my dear friends. Trust me, I’m an adopted kid, being left alone and the fear of no one being by side can be so real sometimes. Doubt can creep it’s way when we least expect it. I gently reminded her that she was never alone. That was the very reason we had friends that were ever present throughout our whole lives was so that we would never ever truly be alone. (My friends and I are always joking about the day that we will all live together and race our wheel chairs down the hallways of wherever we end up living.) I told her life was sometimes about the wait, but if we never strive to try something new, we may never fully find what God has planned. Sometimes life requires a giant leap of faith. But we have to put the car in drive in order to leap. My trips to Honduras came to mind, as well as the move I made to Birmingham only five short years ago. They were at the time gigantic leaps of faith but seem so manageable now. What had seemed so impossible was only one small chapter in a much larger and bigger book.
Putting said car into drive is tricky and scary and unnerving. How do you stay in the lines of the road and what about oncoming traffic? Driving can be so scary. It reminds me of the time I was learning to drive, my new to me, standard car at the young age of nineteen. The cars before this one in particular had all been automatic. Here was another adventure, and yup you guessed it a life lesson. I was so frustrated and was not getting the concept of what needed to happen and when at all. By the minute I was getting more and more aggravated at my mom,who was to be fair, doing her up most to teach me. We sat in the driveway of the house and my mom asked if we could take a break. I was beyond angry at myself and not her and I replied no I am going to do this by myself. I can do it! I bumped my way out of the driveway and did anything but speed off (see its not like a hallmark movie) leaving my mom at the house. Two and half hours later I came back with a decent understanding of how to drive my car. My ever patient dad was waiting for me in the driveway as I pulled up. He opened my car door for me and said” I see you figured it out.” I said “Yes, and I owe mom an apology.” She came out at the moment and said “You did it.” I said “Yes, and I am sorry for leaving you.” She said “You just needed to do it on your own. I get it, you are my daughter. I wouldn’t expect anything less. I think you are good to drive your own car to work tomorrow. Way to go.” When I least deserved it, my parents were yet again showing how much they loved me and knew that I could do anything if I out my mind to it. Their patience to this day never ceases to amaze me. Knowing that even when I am being a pill the size of Texas and I am still shown love when it is least expected is something that I strive to do each day. My parents have taught me many things but this is one of great value. Was it scary to take off on my own and was I a bit worried about ruining my car? Yes. Did I handle it? Sure, not exactly as well as I could have. But even when we make mistakes and let our feelings rule for a bit of time we always learn something and hopefully become a better version of ourselves because of it.
A similar life lesson can apply to dancing. We as the girls, follow forwards, backwards, and side to side. The guys must figure out where to go, how far to go and what comes next. Both sides are equally challenging. One for the ultimate trust one must have to be led, we have to trust that we won’t be stepped, that we won’t be led into someone or something and we must learn to respond to where we are asked to go. The leader has just as many challenges, what comes next, how to lead it, being two or three moves ahead of where one is can be so difficult. Knowing that the trust that someone has in you can be so unnerving . Yet if we both just stood there unmoving we would go no where and and one of my favorite things to do would be non existent. By taking a simple step forward the progression of dance happens and we are not left standing and unmoving while a beautiful piece of music is waiting to be danced to. I have always said that I could make a person see what to hear when I dance, the journey of where I am has become more than worth it. We don’t embark on the journey alone. Be it a dance partner, a coach, a choreographer or a peer we never dance alone and we never stay still for long.
I ended up encouraging my friend to try some new things. To step outside of her comfort zone just a bit. With the disclaimer that she never had to try new things on her own. Sometimes just trying a new food or having a different plan for how to spend a free afternoon can make all the difference in the world. It can be so easy to bump along and let life happen all around us without ever really taking it all it in. What if I one said, sure I will go and try that, or yes I will go with you to said place and maybe we will meet some new friends. After all a stranger is only a friend you haven’t met yet. It is so easy to get caught up on the day to day of life. There is a rhythm we all get caught up in. I know that I have a set way that I do things on day to day basis. It is way easier to be comfortable and not try to do something out of the ordinary. Being extraordinary comes with risk, but it can be so worth it.
Just the other day when the last thing I wanted to was go to dinner and hangout with some of my dearest friend’s. I was so tired! I decided to go for it and see what would come of it. Well as it turns out, I can say that this Volume of “Tale’s of a Siren” that would be non existent and would probably be something completely different. Who would have thought that such a simple quote would promote such a thought provoking moment for me. I also know that I will never look at parked car I the same way. “ YOU can’t steer a parked car.” Put it in drive and see where God takes you. So here is your challenge is to not sit in park. Do some zip-lining, go to dinner and hangout with friends (you never know who you may meet) try a new kind of food, go to the concert of an artist you’ve never known. Shake up your normal everyday routine. Wear purple socks instead of blue. Speak to someone you’ve never spoken to. Don’t leave the car in park. Trust that God is leading you the whole way. Even when we make mistakes and show just how human we really are, have faith that there is a bigger plan. There is so much more to life and all of it’s moments than we can ever perceive. Drive down the highway with the windows down, the music blaring and soak up the sunshine. #bethechange #lovealways #youcantsteeraparkedcar #makeadiffernce Until next week friends!