Archive for January 23rd, 2008


Wednesday, January 23rd, 2008

Today’s scripture: Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. – First Thessalonians 5:16-18

As you read, consider: What might God be saying to me in this passage? Summarize your thoughts in a sentence or two.

My thoughts (Julie Benson):

My new career out on the road as a truck driver has proven to be quite a challenge at times. To prepare for this career change, I spent twelve days at a trucking school learning basic skills to obtain my commercial driver’s license (CDL). These skills included a pre-trip inspection, a four-point brake check, gear shifting, backing maneuvers, and a road test.

The trucking school has a tradition that when each student successfully obtains their CDL, the school provides a hat. For $2, a student can purchase a silver sharpie so that s/he may trek around the building collecting congratulatory signatures from each instructor.

I was ready for my hat! So with my new skills in hand, it was off to the testing site to demonstrate my progress. Well, let’s just say I didn’t do so well on my first test — ok, my first two tests. When I left for the day of my third test, I was determined that this would be my day to pass. And it was. I had finally put my nerves and my lack of confidence into a sealed compartment and had gotten down to business.

As one instructor was about to sign my hat, he asked, “What finally broke through?”

And I answered, “I brought my own sharpie!”

Fellow church member and school instructor, Kevin Mitchell, proudly signed my hat: FIDO — Forget It, Drive On.

But, this CDL only meant that I had learned how to jump through the hoops for a state required test. Moving on to my trucking company brought several days of standard orientation, followed by several weeks out on the road with a trainer.

Picture a day in my new life: The alarm startles me from a deep sleep to the harsh reality of the real world. I wipe the sleep out of my eyes as I frantically reach to silence that annoying noise coming from my bedside table and with one eye open I read the clock: 2:03 am. I wonder: Why am I possibly getting up at such a crazy hour? Ah, yes, training day!

Shuffling into the dispatch office at 3:00 am, I meet my trainer and head out to the truck that I will be living in for the next several weeks. My seat belt is barely fastened when he begins his rhetoric about shifting gears. Everything that I previously learned is being stripped away and I am now required to use this new method. Wasn’t I just starting to get the other shifting method under control after over a week of practice?

Fast forward to the first customer dock that I have to back into: a downhill ramp leading to the inside of a building. That wonderful school taught me how to back in a straight line, how to move over from one parking spot to the next, and how to parallel park. But this is real life. No orange cones, no giggles about encroachments, and no endless time limit to get it in the hole. I am supposed to use what angles? My trailer responds to my tractor when I move it that way, how?

The trainer steps outside to help guide me into the spot and to make sure that my silly rookie ignorance doesn’t get me in trouble by hitting a building or another truck.

It feels like testing day all over again. I am nervous and can’t seem to remember which way to turn the wheel or when to respond to what my trailer is doing behind me. The trainer’s voice grows more and more excitable, more and more impatient. Tears well up in my eyes as I continue to battle with this vehicle. After twenty minutes of backing up, pulling forward, adjusting left or right, and listening to my trainer’s piercing voice, I finally manage to get the vehicle in place. The wise, simple words offered once before keep rolling through my mind: Forget It, Drive On.

But one more customer with two different docks where I could receive my trainer’s high-strung advice, heavy rush hour traffic that challenges me to use my brand new shifting technique that I can’t quite get right, and the last dock at the end of my long 15-hour day back at my company with a line of drivers anxiously waiting for me to get out of their way bring my emotions to the bottom of the barrel. I slink back home, exhausted, consumed with tears. All I can do for the remainder of the night is cry.

But with a new day comes a new opportunity. I was broken down and defeated long enough.

A new, adjusted attitude was ready to be served up, regardless of my puffy eyes that served as a reminder of the previous day’s struggles.

We can get so caught up in our day to day battles and disappointments, letting it eat away at our soul. Or we can learn to let it go and let us grow.

Thought for the day:

Rejoice always.

Pray without ceasing.

Give thanks in all circumstances.

So Forget It. . . Drive On!

We encourage you to include a time of prayer with this reading. If you need a place to get started, consider the guidelines on the How to Pray page.

"Be still, and know that I am God." Psalm 46:10
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