Wisdom is the evidence of good choices.
Good choices are the evidence of life experiences.
Life experiences are the evidence of bad choices.
Confession: Some of my bad choices were some of my best fun. Until it was time to come back to the real world. Then, the consequences were some of my greatest life lessons.
It was the summer of 1976. I had a driver’s license in my hot pink wallet, inside my faded denim shoulder bag, for about six months. My dad’s old 1969, pale blue, American Motors Rambler sedan, was my car to drive.
My best friend and I drove down a familiar old country road just passing time on a hot, lazy, summer afternoon in Alabama. The windows were rolled down and we sang John Denver’s Rocky Mountain High to the top of our lungs. We talked about boys, why girls act the way we (they) do, and what we would wear the first day back to school filled our days.
We had been down this road a million times in earlier years. On our 10-speed bikes, riding for miles without helmets or gloves or cell phones for us to check in with our moms – It’s a wonder I’m here to tell this story.
On our drive, I spotted a dirt road, unnoticed the year before. Curiosity trumped our good judgement and I turned the car a hard left, leaving asphalt and kicking up red dust. BAD CHOICE…
The road had been cut for construction vehicles to enter and work on a new subdivision. Slight hills and sharp curves had developed as the trucks came down the path. I drove dad’s car like I was the Dukes of Hazard. We hit some of those hills so hard, our heads hit the ceiling of the car when it went airborne, before landing hard in the seat again! Clearly, this was before the days of seat belt laws.
My friend and I laughed until we couldn’t breathe at the trill of driving with flagrant disregard to safety. We were young and thoughts of death and injury were far from our minds.
When the sight of asphalt came into view, I stopped and looked before entering the country road again – and reality.
As I came to a full stop, the antenna on the front passenger side of the car, slowly laid over and fell – right-off-the-car – it just gave up its antenna ghost right then and there!
Another round of hilarious laughter exploded as I jumped out and tried to reattach the antenna. It did not go into place easily, and I would need the help from one of our guy-friends to secure it – before my dad saw it.
Just then, a car older than mine, turned off the asphalt and pulled up beside us on dirt road.
Two guys who were, simply put, a terror to look at. Dirty, oily hair hung in their eyes and yellow-green teeth smiled at us.
The driver began to tell us how he was going to school to be a “baby doctor” and wanted to talk to us. The guy in the passenger seat, bounced up and down as his friend talked. Within seconds of pulling up, he reached into his shirt.
My friend screamed, as I hit the gas pedal as hard as I could, spinning tires, and fish-tailing slightly onto the road. Gravel and red dust flew into the air as rubber grabbed asphalt, taking us out of harm’s way as quickly as possible.
We watched the rear-view mirror as we drove straight to a friend’s house, who had five older brothers, WE wanted to make sure no one followed us home. And if they had followed us, the brothers would have been able to clearly express the need for the unwelcomed car to leave.
The antenna was secured in its proper place before I dropped my best friend at her house and returned home. We vowed never to tell our parents what happened – and I never have. Unless they happen to read this post or someone tells, they will never know.
I grew a lot that day, because of my bad choices. For God’s obvious protection in those moments, I thank him all the way home. And continued for days later. Those moments could have changed life forever.
Every once-in-awhile, God reminds me of that day. He reminds me of his love for me, his faithfulness, and that in life or in death, I am His.
He will use all things for our good and His glory, for those who are His. Even if it had not turn out well, He would have used it for good. That is the way it is with God.
All things grow us, and God makes us wiser and stronger concerning Him and His ways in our lives, though our choices – good and bad.
For the next couple of months, dad would ask if I knew why things were going wrong with the Rambler.
He asked why I thought the shock absorbers needed to be welded back to the car…
And, why the gas tank had a hole in it…
For the rest of the year, I cut grass and help around the house without being asked. And I never went “dukes-of-Hazard” on a car, again. Nor did i go down uncharted roads without some plan of escape and protection.
The evolution of Wisdom is that frequently, it comes from bad choices – thank God, for His Grace and Mercy.
“it was good for me to be afflicted, so I might learn your decrees.” Psalms 119:71
Linking today with the amazing, Jennifer Dukes Lee
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