This is the post in which we say goodbye. We’re both leaving our respective jobs at Beliefnet, and so it’s time to step away from the blog. So, this is the post in which we say goodbye…by saying thank you. Thank you to you, the readers, for clicking and visiting and sharing the myriad ways […]
There’s a greeting card that reads, “I miss you.” And on the inside: “There’s no one to grip the dashboard and scream in terror.” A decade or so back, two separate people gave me that card without the other knowing.
Not much of a driver myself (a New Yorker through and through), I frequently do grip the dashboard. I stomp an invisible, non-existent passenger-side break. I grab at straps. It drives my drivers crazy. Which makes me crazy. It’s simply not a fun way to travel.
But, since one particularly trying seven-hour trip with a friend about seven years ago, I have worked very hard on modifying my behavior. Realizing this is purely about trust and control and fear (I was in a scary accident with my mom at age 14), I do my best to actively let go and relax as soon as I get in a car. Here are some things I do. They may help you in similar situations, i.e., when you are feeling out of control yet are not in any actual danger–in planes, cars, in-laws living rooms, etc:
– Breathe some deep breaths as soon as the ignition starts
– Tell myself, “I am safe, I will be ok”
– Tell myself, “God has me. No matter what happens, I am ultimately safe.”
– Tell myself, “I trust this person driving.” And if that’s not really true, I ask myself, “Am I safe, though?” And if the answer if roughly “yes”–they’re sober, have a good driving record, are calm, etc.–I tell myself “I trust that this person is also protected and does not want to get into an accident.”
– Imagine that my seat is a snuggly, safe place, and sink into its contours
– Keep breathing
– Remember that worrying will not make us safer. In fact, if anything, happy thoughts will make the ride smoother for everyone.
– Surrender, surrender, surrender
– Close my eyes at left turns
– Visualize us safe and happy at our destination
– Turn any thoughts about driving accident stats into clouds I watch drift away
– Trust that if I do see anything the driver needs to know I will notice and speak in a calm, non-knee jerk way
– Get into the music
– Have a nice, distracting chat
– Ask the driver to tell me a story
– Remind myself that this is just like life–it often doesn’t come with a steering wheel. And the key to getting to your destination happy, calm, and with friends, is to be a calm, trusting passenger when necessary and help the driver out once in a while–without grippy panic, but faith, grace, and humor.
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