I was 18 years old at the time and dating a 33 year old man (my future husband). At the time of this specific story, we were already pretty serious in our relationship. Because of that, I would routinely drive him to work so that he could do a few hours of needed calls and paperwork while I was left in charge of his personal car...and his little baby boy.
On one of these days, I decided to drop into the office for a surprise visit. His office was located in the upper level of the local mall (where he was on special assignment as an active duty Air Force recruiter) so parking proved to be a bit of a challenge at times.
Being just 18 years old (and only having my license for maybe 6 months) I hadn't quite mastered all of those tight parking techniques yet, but I had the youthful thought process to think that I could conquer anything and there happened to be an open space in between 2 other government cars. About a thousand times before that moment, I had seen my boyfriend whip around and back his 1985 Pontiac Firebird into a parking space. I figured it couldn't be all that difficult and I ought to be able to do the same.
I turned, positioned, angled, checked my mirrors and then went for it. Ever so softly I heard a scrape/rubbing sound. Shock and doubt filled my mind. Those feelings were followed by a million other thoughts.
- I can't believe I just messed up!
- I just wrecked the car with THE BABY!
- This is his car...his other BABY!
- I scraped a government car....the military can't touch me but they can make life hard for him!
- I have put a huge black mark of shame in his career record!
- I have ruined his life!
With all of those thoughts swirling through my mind, I did what any sensible 18 year old girl would do.......I parked the car in a different spot, grabbed the baby, and went up to the office with a "nope nothing happened today" smile on my face.
To make matters worse, the army recruiter saw me pull away and told the navy recruiter. It was the navy car that I had scuffed. The navy officer marched out there with a tape measure and everything to compare paint scuff marks and bumpers. As sweetly and determined as she was to get the truth out of me......do you know I played the dumbfounded/denial card to the very end?! Yep I lied. I lied profoundly, absolutely, and stupidly. I looked her right in the eyes and said, "Gosh those are interesting clues to your case but it wasn't me." All I could think of were those thoughts swirling around in my head and I was not about to own up to anything.
It was not until just a couple of years ago that I confessed the truth to my husband.
He was shocked and then we had a good laugh about it.
I was out driving yesterday, all the usual errands, when that whole scene jumped back into my mind. (Do you ever find yourself with that memory lane stupidity hitting you smack in the face when you least expect it?) Ugh! It is so embarrassing! I hope that as I have gained years and experience since that time, I am not as prone to such dumb moments. But then again, it is not 100% likely. Sure it is funny to laugh at and it really wasn't a big deal. Nothing ever happened. The scuff buffed right out. But it makes me cringe all the same.
I think because it is a pointed landmark story in my life that illustrates all of the many times that I have so adamantly and without wisdom clung to an empty and futile thought process. Call it haughtiness, arrogance, egoism, narcissism, pride, or self preservation....it really all means the same thing. I think everyone can testify to at least one deed sort of similar to this in their past. It is, after all, human instinct to be driven by self. We all have done it, are doing it, and will do it in the future. It is why we need a Savior...not only to ensure where we spend our eternity, but also how we live day to day in the now time.
I know that for me, it is only because of Jesus in my life today that I can even attempt to make a more wise decision in my days than what wants to rise up from inside me. As they say, "But for the grace of God, there go I."
Lean on, trust in, and be confident in the Lord with all your heart and mind and do not rely on your own insight or understanding. In all your ways know, recognize, and acknowledge Him, and He will direct and make straight and plain your paths.