Persons, places and things: The driver in control

By Barb Arland-Fye
The Catholic Messenger

When the Diocese of Davenport’s chief of staff called my office to say he could see my “white bug” in the parking lot, I knew I was in trouble. My Volkswagen Beetle is blue, which meant that snow now completely covered the car.

Arland-Fye

I could not see the bug from my office, but four to six inches of snow coated the area of parking lot visible from my windows. Deacon David Montgomery said road conditions were treacherous and advised that I stay put. That seemed like the best option. Driving in snow or ice raises my anxiety level for fear of getting into an accident.

As a young reporter, I once spun out my car in a busy Davenport intersection on a snowy winter night and struck the base of a traffic signal, which created a new angle to the front end of my used Mustang. A few years later on another snowy night just a short distance from my apartment (returning home after a 325-mile trip from the Twin Cities) I was involved in a collision with another car.

Yes, staying put made sense this time. So I called my husband Steve, a far more confident winter-weather driver, to let him know of my plans. He, however, had made it safely to a meeting across the river and volunteered to pick me up afterwards.

The drive home, in my opinion, was harrowing mostly because of the other drivers we encountered along the way … some traveling too fast and others too slow for the weather conditions. Steve remained calm throughout; you would have had to pry my knuckles from the steering wheel!

We arrived home safe, sound and thankful. The wild fluctuations we’ve experienced in the midst of this winter season caused me to reflect on the concept of control. When I’m driving a car on icy or slick, snow-covered roads, I feel a loss of control and it is an unsettling feeling. I feel the same way walking on slick surfaces, having broken a leg because of ice!

From a young age on, I had a need to be in control of my destiny. Every once in a while, though, particularly in the midst of prayer, I’d sense a question from God: “Who’s in control? You or me?”

I know the correct answer to that question and most recently had the “opportunity” to yield control to God following last year’s cancer diagnoses. That reinforced my understanding that God truly is in charge and that every blessing I receive along the way should be savored and celebrated.

I had to undergo fewer chemotherapy treatments than expected — a really huge blessing in my book — and now I am in remission, an even greater blessing. The cancer is treatable, not curable, which is definitely outside of my control. I can’t do anything to prevent the cancer from recurring, but remaining on monitoring status provides a permanent reminder to depend on and place my trust in God.

My guess is that I will face a few more winter-driving challenges this season, and my blue “bug” may again be coated in white in the diocesan parking lot. I’ll ask God to take the driver’s seat.

(Editor Barb Arland-Fye can be reached at arland-fye@davenportdiocese.org.)

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