Yesterday after almost two months of waiting I was finally able to purchase a car in Saint Vincent. It was at the same time one of the most exciting and frightening experiences of my life.
- Exciting because it gave me a lot more liberty and freedom
- Frightening because it means I’ll be driving on Vincentian roads again
When I came to St Vincent the one thing that scared me more than anything else was definitely the driving. Many of the roads aren’t that much bigger than a lane in the American roads, which means you need to occasionally drive through tight spaces. Driving was made more difficult by road construction, and some roads only being big enough for one vehicle (if you meet one you have to reverse down that road). So it shouldn’t be surprising that I preferred walking to driving even when the Church van was in my possession 🙂
With the Lords help my driving got better towards the end of the six-month ministry in March 2016. But the truth is I hadn’t done any driving since then so part of me worried about getting behind the wheel for the first time in almost five months.
To make things more interesting I would be driving the car back from town (Kingstown) after paying for the ownership to be transferred. Town is without a doubt the busiest part of Saint Vincent and it can be very easy to make a serious mistake driving there (I refused to drive to town for over three-months last year because it scared me too much).
After the title and insurance was taken care of I was feeling pretty good about myself walking with the original owner to pick up the car till I found where it was located. He had brought it to public parking, but parked it at a far corner that was surrounded by other vehicles. So instead of backing straight out or driving forward I obeyed the commands of a parking attendant very poorly (making myself look like a moron in the process) and almost put a dent in my car before getting it out of the parking lot!
After dropping the owner off I was able to collect my thoughts and didn’t have any issues (okay I was beeped at twice and made two wrong turns). The more interesting thing is about a mile outside of town I started to enjoy driving…this may not seem important but I can’t remember the last time I ENJOYED driving on a Vincentian road!
Part of that enjoyment comes from the fact that my car being lower to the ground than the Church van gives me a better view of my surroundings, and it can squeeze into smaller spaces. But in a deeper sense I believe all of the practice during my short-term ministry made driving much easier now.
Yesterdays experience reminds me how anxiety from past failures or challenges can affect us from attempting those things in the future. To be honest part of me even yesterday would have been perfectly happy walking everywhere instead of taking the risk of making myself look stupid, or have a traffic accident, however once I got out on the road all that anxiety melted away.
While my driving record surely won’t be perfect (pretty much every Vincy vehicle has at least one dent) I’m grateful for the reminder from God that yesterdays anxiety doesn’t have to affect todays actions.