Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Lessons From a Racing Legend

Let's go camping she says. My prim and proper, every bit a lady, wife has taken to primitive camping. By primitive, I mean clean restrooms and shower facilities, camp activities, camp store, and a tent. All conveniently located minutes away from WalMart.

So, maybe that's not your idea of primitive camping, but I will take it. For her, this is adventure. For me, this is love. Okay, I get sappy now and then, so I've been told. This blog post isn't entirely about love and mushiness. It's also about racing.

Racing, you ask. Yep, racing. Nothing compares to the feel of the road below your wheels as you take a car around the track at speeds in excess of 200 miles per hour. Tires slipping/gripping the asphalt as you take a curve with G-Forces found in F/18 Fighter jets. At least that's what I've been told. I have never experienced that, but I have to tell you that driving a golf cart around a grass field was also a bit of a thrill. Now before you NASCAR fans scoff, read on, it may be worth it.

On this particular Saturday, the activity coordinator at Foxfire Campground scheduled a golf cart race. The object was to race around the course, staying inside the lane markers, avoiding the man-made obstacles such as the plastic barrels and natural obstacles such as the trees and pond. Oh yeah, trees and pond, baby.

The goal was to have the best time against the other drivers. And by the way, the drivers are blind-folded. What?! Yes. Blind-folded. I hear you thinking. No way. It's impossible to drive over hill and dale, avoiding barrels and trees, and pond, while blind-folded. You would be right, except that also going along for the ride is your navigator who tells you when to go left or right, or "STOP! that body of water is getting too close."

When we found out about the races, I thought this would be fun to watch. My wife on the other hand resolved to enter this race and that I would be her navigator. Fortunately we did not go first. We had the luxury of watching the others and it was a hoot. You could see the navigators pointing left but yelling right. You could see them covering their eyes and the look of fear as they approached the plastic white barrels and trees. Like I said, a hoot.

It was all fun and games until we took our turn. I have to admit that I am an awful passenger. Some even say control freak. I disagree with the latter assessment, but this is America and people are entitled to their opinion. Prior to covering her eyes, Deborah took a few more glances at the course, committing the layout to memory before going blind. We were given the command to go and boy did we take off like a shot. Well, not really a shot so much as an angry turtle.

We first began rolling down the hill and I began calling for her to ease left, left. LEFT! "Don't yell at me, you make me nervous!" she said. Okay, turn right. Right. RIGHT! "Honey, why are you going so slow? You have to step on the gas."

In my defense, I wasn't previously aware that her motor skills were an issue, but apparently when her hands were being used to steer, her foot would tend to ease off the gas or onto the break. It was kind of like the whole rub your tummy, pat your head type of thing. She just couldn't do gas and wheel at the same time. I know right now someone is considering the tummy/head thing and it's okay, nobody is looking, go for it. Like I said, this is America.

We eventually made it to the finish line in record making time. I don't know if it was really a record, but I have a hard time thinking anybody else has ever gone that slow before. Then subtract the penalties for going out of bounds, repeatedly, we didn't have a chance. But then, after all of the other racers took their turns, we were told we could switch places. What? Really? I can do this? Yes.

I took my position in the driver's seat, took a last look at the course, and then donned the blind-fold. Whew! It was dark in there. I got the command, "Go!" and I gunned it. If I hit 5mph, I hit every bit of 12. We were cruising at top speed with a panic stricken navigator yelling at me to go left, now right. "Stay in the lines." she says. I reminded her that I was driving blind and that "I can't see the lines, honey. You have to tell me what to do."

She yells at me to hurry, go right. Sharp right. We are going to hit the speed bump, as we hit the speed bump. It was then I remebered that the speed bump was just before the two barrels and the finish line was just beyond. Much to her dismay, I floored it, while she screamed for me to ease left and right until we crossed the finish line.

The whispers began as suddenly as we crossed the line. We might have done it. We may have won. There were a couple more racers and although they gave a valiant effort, they could not best our time. The announcement was made. We had in fact won, becoming the 2012 Foxfire Camping Golf Cart Racing Champions.

The crowd erupted. "Woohoo!", "Yes!", "Great job!", "You sir, are a legend." Okay, well there were about a dozen people who congratulated me with smiles and nods. I could have been called a legend. You never know.

Later that night, while rejoicing in our victory, it occurred to me how much this was so much an analogy of life. I know you are asking yourself, how can golf cart racing be anything close to life? Stick with me for a moment.

People have choices in life. We can go through life not doing anything, not getting anywhere, because we are afraid to hit the gas. Our dreams and plans wither and die because there is no movement or momentum. Others are moving, blindly, hitting every obstacle in their path. A tree here or a pond there. Maybe going in a completely wrong direction from where they want to be.

But to finish and finish well, we need a trustworthy navigator. My wife was a much better navigator than I was. However, Jesus is the ultimate navigator. We can trust him to not yell at us. He can take us way beyond our dreams and plans, into so much more than what we could ever do if we live in fear or flail blindly in this life. He can see around the corners and knows where the obstacles are. He can help us avoid them, or reroute us when they happen. In fact He is already at the finish line, waiting on us. He made a way for us to get there already. We have won, with Him guiding us, if we follow His guidance.

What dreams and plans are you sitting on today? What kind of fear is holding you back? Why not give it all to God and let Him help steer your life?

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