I have experienced the most frightful thing ever, and it’s not HyperSpace Mountain at Disneyland (although that was pretty close!). We hired a car to drive from Paris to various spots in rural France and then into Belgium. Simple enough, you would think … except for one small problem. In Europe (not the UK) they drive on the wrong side of the road for us.
I thought it might be a little freaky, but not as terrifying and disconcerting as it actually was, and I wasn’t the one doing the driving. Our first indication that this was going to be a challenge was when David and I walked up to our hire car and were about to get into our normal seats, except that would put me in the driver’s seat. We both had to swap over.
The sensation of sitting in the seat I would normally be driving in, and not have a steering wheel in front of me, or any capacity to control the vehicle, was truly awful. The drive for the first hour had me trying to apply my dashboard brakes (which never really work to my satisfaction!!) constantly. I hated being in the ‘control seat’ without any control whatsoever.
I trust my husband’s driving, and he did a great job remembering to go around the roundabouts the wrong way, and turn left onto the other side of the road than what we are used to. He even managed to juggle the fact that it was a manual car and he needed to use his other hand to change gears, and operate the indicators from a different spot. It took him not too long to get used to the whole situation. I, however, found the whole experience incredibly stressful.
It became better when I felt relaxed enough to focus on my distraction activities, such as reading or cross-stitching. I discovered that the constant worrying about the experience didn’t make it any more or less safe, it just made me more anxious, and so I tried hard to let go of my concerns and let my husband do what he’s good at and drive. We didn’t crash, we didn’t even come close. He did well.
I think my anxiety was primarily because I was sitting in the ‘driver’s seat’ and wasn’t actually driving, and it made me reflect upon the times when I fully allow God to be in control of my life and the choices I make. It can also be a sense of scary as I let Him navigate life for me, but I know He knows the best destination for me as well as the route to take to get there. It always works better when I can relax and allow Him to just drive. Every time. Every single time.
I am grateful we have handed the car back and the next time we drive will be in our home country and all will be right with my world once again. I am also grateful for the reminder to let go of my desire to be the driver of my life and make sure that God is in the driver’s seat, whichever side that might be.