Tomorrow I will drive my two young daughters over the (stunning! amazing!) Bozeman Pass:
Our time in Bozeman will be brief—just enough time to tour the Museum of the Rockies with my best friend and her daughter—and then to steal away her daughter for a five-day visit. You would think I would only be happy and excited about this trip. But this morning on my walk with Lilikoi (our Golden Retriever), I was besieged by all sorts of (extremely) irrational fears related to the drive:
- What if I just jerk the wheel of my SUV at 75 mph and we roll and crash and all die?
- What if I change lanes without checking my blindspot (yeah—right—in 27+ years of driving, I don’t think I have ever done that), slam into a semitruck, and we all roll and crash and die?
- We’ll be going over MOUNTAINS! What if I stop paying attention and just drive off the side of the mountain?
No. Nope. Not a lot of rationality going on there. As Fred says, I am an extremely vigilant and careful driver. These fears may feel vivid and real, but they are not based in a lot of fact or reality. But they were still very hard to overcome.
I’ve said it before on this blog and I’m sure I’ll say it again—but it’s not hard for me to imagine how and why people close down their worlds by giving in to one fear, and then another. Limiting their experiences, backing away from new things, backing away even then from known things. Pulling away. Hunkering down. Crouching in a defensive position—emotionally and then physically. Hiding away, gripped by fear. Miserable. Trapped. Bound.
It’s hard to press on and keep going when fears begin to rattle us. But we can press on.
In this instance, one thing that helped me greatly was to remember, recognize, and then pray through the fact that my worst driving accident in life happened in Bozeman—and that going over the Bozeman Pass (after the accident) was pretty much the most terrifying drive of my life. But a) I wasn’t reliving that experience (it was sad, it was impactful, but it need not control me for the rest of my life); and b) the accident and the terrifying drive all happened on ice-packed, snow-covered versions of this drive (and I will be driving on bone-dry, 81 degree, perfect condition, world-class-view-encircled roads). Not this:
So that’s where I left things. Acknowledging the rational bases for my fears and the irrational. Praying through them. Not willing to close down my life because of them. And actually looking forward (just a bit) to the drive.
Can’t wait to pick up Scouty!
Blessings to you and yours,