You guys, I am absolutely terrified to drive in wintery road conditions! Seriously, my heart beats faster, my face flushes, and I get all tensed up… for the whole drive.
When I was a stay at home/homeschooling mom, whenever there were bad road conditions I *usually* could choose to stay home. Occasionally I’ve had to drive in it. Like that time my husband persuaded me to drive our little, red Toyota Prius to Home Depot, rent a pick up truck, and drive it 45 minutes to a small rural town to buy a wood-burning stove he found on Craigslist. He had me do it because he’d just worked a night shift, truck driving 12 hours including his commute time. It was a Saturday morning, but he needed to sleep. He was afraid someone would buy the item before we got to it. So being a good wifey, I had to drive on 2 inches of solid ice covering the roads most of the way and get that done. I drove no more than 25 mph almost the entire way in both the Prius and the rented pickup truck. It was tense!
Now as a working mom who has to commute to work about 45 minutes every day, one way, I have to drive in the yucky weather. Ugh!
As we’re entering into the crazy, manic winter season here in Missouri, I decided yesterday (after losing sleep worrying about the following ice/snow dump we were to receive) I was going to purpose to think POSITIVELY about the weather. In my mind, I usually have a conversation going on, “I hate this weather”, “I am so scared to drive on ice”, and just a really negative thought process happening. I thought to myself, “You know, I wonder if I might be less afraid if I accept I have to drive in this, if I give God praise and thanks for the snow and ice, and look for the beauty in it instead of dreading driving. Maybe the anxiety and fear would go away.”
This morning at 4:30am, I started my hubby’s four wheel drive pickup truck 15 minutes early, cleaned it off, checked the road to see how it was by walking myself down our driveway and standing in the middle of the road trying to slide around. The road was icy, but it was that bumpy, grippy ice stuff from the inch of snow and however much rain fell the night before.
Satisfied I’d probably live to get to work, I bravely left our driveway and entered onto the rural state highway running along the front of our house. I took some gravel roads to avoid the curves and hills on our probably unplowed/not de-iced road to get to the main highway and was pleasantly surprised at how clean it was. I kept my speed under 50 miles an hour on the highway. As I came to the first bridge crossing (the one where I totaled my SUV last February sliding all over the bridge, hitting the side wall twice…but that’s another story…) I slowed down even more, crossing it with ease as it was almost dry. I whooped and hollered exclaiming, “Thank you, Jesus!”
As I drove, I deliberately observed the light dusting of snow covering the grass and trees on either side of the road. Delighting in the beauty I used to admire when I was a child and still loved snow (before I was old enough to drive in it).
I arrived safely at work after crossing several more bridges (loudly cheering after making it successfully across each one) and taking the downhill curves just before my final stop.
The moral of this story is, positivity goes a LONG way in combatting anxiety and fear. I’m learning this the hard way, day in and day out, in trying to train my mind to be joyful always.
Also…it’s okay to be silly sometimes.