The words, “Night Restriction” marked in bold print, stood out on my first driver’s license at age 16, even though my eye disease hadn’t been diagnosed yet. Symptoms of night blindness was evident enough and the eye doctor recommended such restrictions.
It didn’t matter to me though. Being able to pedal a car down the road like all the other teenagers is what I cared about. Freedom. Attending games to play in pep band or march, and church activities meant going places constantly. Mom and dad were thankful they didn’t have to drive me out of town to all my planning sessions for the church retreats I was responsible for as the State Christian Youth Fellowship President.
Once in college, driving came to a crawl since I had no vehicle. It came to a total halt during my second summer when I failed my driver’s test.
Tears flowed down my cheeks endlessly. I felt like I was hit by a freight train. College was there to distract me, making it bearable, but the pain lurked below as if I were an active volcano.
Hope returned as my faith strengthened in my prayer time. Two and a half years later at age 22, I prayed one of the most earnest prayers I’ve ever prayed. “Lord, if You will allow me to drive again, I will give anyone rides who is without a vehicle or a license.”
God granted my request and I drove again. This time, I drove to shop, work, church, to see friends, or home to visit family. My freedom was limited by not driving at night, but I didn’t care. I lived on my own and took care of myself. Independence was what I was after and driving gave it to me.
Around 30 years of age, I noticed myself choosing to avoid left turns on major roads. Instead, I turned right avoiding pulling out across traffic. Then, I turned left to circle around the block, positioning myself to turn right again just to go the direction originally intended. New stores were avoided also. It was too difficult to spot where entrance and exits lay. Directions given by friends included street names along with physical landmarks to avoid any chance of my missing wherever I was going. Judging distances grew more difficult, but the worst part was the reflection of light. Shadows informing me of the road’s edge totally disappeared when the sun lowered itself in the sky. That’s a little dangerous for anyone nearby. Knowing I could hurt someone meant I needed to surrender my license. I made it to 32.
I derived some comfort from knowing I wasn’t safe and could hurt others. But, it wasn’t just my license I lost. It was my independence. No taxis, buses, or other public transportation existed in my small town. Living in a new house and town where I only had one friend left me with many problems to solve; no more ability to go to the store or church by myself. Total dependence from this day forward.
Wouldn’t you know it? God had a trick up His sleeve. If I couldn’t drive and be independent, then why not give me someone who would be willing to take care of me. God did that for me. He gave me a husband; the man who built my new house.
Have you ever had your independence taken away for any length of time due to a surgery, health condition, or tragedy of some sort? If so, I’d love to hear about your experience.