The Fear of Driving -OR- the fear that drives me

Another chilly February Nashville Monday morning, (I had to capitalize 2/3 of that phrase!) but this one doesn't feel quite as cold since I was just out in the farm country of Northern Illinois. The freezing wind comes racing across the flattened corn fields, picking up snow and throwing it at you along the way. We were there to celebrate my cousin Lisa getting married Saturday and my little ones were the flower girls. Very cute.

We drove seven hours to Normal on Thursday, then two to Kankakee (where the wedding was) on Friday, then another seven back home yesterday. And I must make this confession:

I'm scared of driving.

Not totally sure why. Always so close to being able to just run off the road, hit a bridge post, be sideswiped by a drunk dude, fall asleep and lose control. Any of these things are a possibility at any time and sometimes that can just put me in a complete panic. Especially now that I have a family.

My mind will start following the path of this or that little scenario until I'm sweating and heartbroken and so angry at how horrible life has gotten, though nothing at all has happened. The cruise is on and I'm just driving along, wishing the slow semi in this lane hadn't picked now to try and pass the slow semi in the other.

In just under a month I'll hop in my little Toyota and drive to 25 different cities here in America to play some songs. So I feel it's time to deal with this fear somehow.

By dealing with it I don't mean trying to "conquer" it. I don't believe that really happens. I think that fear is not a thing in and of itself, but a symptom of a deeper disbelief. We go from thinking "this thing has power over me" to "I have power over this thing". It seems to me that to "conquer" our fear is just to replace one half-truth with another.

The real issue is often control. Specifically, who's in it.

And my friends, when I am driving I become more aware than at any other time of just how completely I am not in control of my own life. And also how fleeting this life can really be.

Chesterton talks in "Orthodoxy" about the sanity of the insane man, something about how it's a preoccupation with a very real possibility, and therefore is quite a sane reaction to an insane world. The real craziness is being able to function at all in a world so bent on our destruction.

And so, driving down I-57 to I-24 yesterday with my wife and my youngest daughter asleep and Ella buried under a "house" of pillows and blankets she built around her car seat, I started to pray. Something akin to the Lord's prayer, I realized later. "Let Your will be done, on Earth as it is in heaven, and give me today what I need to make it through..."

I have a feeling I'll be saying that prayer a lot in the months to come, and I look forward to seeing the ways it gets answered.