Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Give Me Eye to See

Friday night I was on my way to meet Karen and Thomas at the Frederick Fair. It was about 8:30 and I was coming from a dinner meeting, driving on Reich’s Ford Road, when suddenly my contact attacked my left eye. I don’t know what made it angry or how he snuck a needle into my eye, but within seconds I was crying like a baby as my contact made its way inside my eye socket and into my brain. I pulled over and spent about 20 minutes trying to get it out. Finally, using scissors, duct tape and a toilet plunger, I was able to pull it free with most of my eye remaining. However, the contact was not so lucky–he was ripped in two during the struggle and perished. I only ever saw half his body, though I suspect if I sniff really hard I could probably make the rest come out my nose.

So there I was -- one good eye, sitting in the driver’s seat a mile from the fairgrounds, wondering how I was going to get anywhere, let alone find my wife. Not a good place to be.

Do you ever feel like you this? You’ve just had an attack of some sort. You can’t see where you’re going. You feel stuck and separated, and you are wondering how you’re going to get anywhere, let alone home? I suspect it’s not uncommon.

Some friends and I are reading Waking the Dead by John Eldredge. One of the themes of the book is clarity – being fully aware of God’s presence and his work in our lives so we can navigate well and find our way home. We are asking God to give us the clarity we need to walk closely with him day by day. I don’t know about you, but I need more than two working contacts. (Now I need these doggone reading glasses, but that’s another story.) I need to be in constant communion with God every day so that I can navigate well, be the person I’m called to be, and make it home safely to my wife and kids at night. Walking with God like this is a lot easier than wandering blindly through life. A lot less painful, too, I'm finding out.

So what did I do Friday night? I managed to drive (slowly) to the front gate of the fairgrounds and park along the side of the road. I called Karen on the cell phone and she found the car. It was sure good to see her, or at least a blurry outline of her beautiful form! We made it home in one piece. More than I can say for my contact. I thank God for good vision, good companions, and God himself.

Driving Lessons

So yesterday was a big day at our house. We entered a new stage of parenthood. We are now a three-driver family.

Jonathan was ready. He’s almost 17. He’s a good, responsible kid, though I would say his driving skills remain a bit unrefined. And, like all teenagers, he thinks he knows more than he does. We made him do all 60 hours of practice (despite his insistence that “no other parents make their kids do all the hours.”). He drove to the MVA, to get in a little last-minute practice. I was going to make him parallel park one last time, amidst moving traffic, on Rt. 70, just for good measure. But I decided against it. Despite all his “experience,” he admitted he was nervous. I figured that was a good sign.

We arrived at the testing site, signed in, and pulled up to the stop sign which serves as the starting gate. I got out of the car and let the friendly lady with the clipboard get into my seat. She told me I could watch if I wanted, but I went to the bench around the corner and sat down. I didn’t want to make Jon any more nervous than he already was. Besides, I couldn’t bear to watch.

A few minutes later, after a quick “How’s he doing?” phone call from Karen, I saw the car come around the corner and pull into a parking space. There were no noticeable scratches on the car, nor were there any farm animals, pedestrians or other bumpers stuck to the front grill. Jonathan got out of the car, a smile on his face. The lady with the clipboard was smiling too. She gave me the words I did and did not want to hear. “He passed.”

Maybe it was because he was tired from a long day at school, or perhaps it was the post-stress letdown, or maybe it was because he wanted me to know I was still important enough to matter; whatever the reason, Jonathan handed ME the keys and said, “Why don’t you drive home, Dad?” I was glad to oblige.