A few weeks ago we were in California to babysit grandchildren. While we were there, I was able to drive two vehicles that were different than any I had ever driven. My oldest son had recently bought a BMW electric car and when we arrived, he gave me the key. I drove it everyday for a week. It was a wonderful experience and I became a fan. It took me a day to get used to the fact that the car was totally silent. At first, I was unsure it was even running. There was no noise because it has no muffler. There was no shifting of gears when I increased my speed. The car simply went faster. Braking was very different than a gas powered car. With an electric car, when you take your foot off of the accelerator, the car slows down immediately. So I rarely pressed the brake pedal. I discovered it had ample power, it went from 0-80 mph fast. It was easy to charge up at night and it was wonderful to not have to pay the high cost of gasoline.
The second vehicle I drove was my daughter-in-law’s mini van. It was the latest and greatest with a rear reverse camera and a right blind spot camera that came on whenever you put on the right blinker. I found the cameras helpful, but there was another feature that really impressed me. My first morning drive in the van was taking the grandkids to school. Driving down the road a bell started ringing. I wasn’t sure what was going on. I looked at all the gauges, and the kids from the back seats said, “Big, you are getting out of your lane.” It took me a second before I realized what they were saying. My daughter-in-law’s vehicle had a warning bell telling me I was drifting. I had seen commercials describing this feature, but this was my first time experiencing it. It was quite remarkable. The purpose of this bell was to awaken a sleepy driver or remind a driver like me who often drifts a little to pay attention and stay in my lane.
I have thought a lot about both of those cars. We loved the electric BMW. I wondered if I were in the market for a car would I consider buying one. I also thought a lot about the ringing bell in the van that let me know I was drifting out of my lane. Wouldn’t life be better if we had a little bell in our heads that went off whenever our lives started drifting? How many times have I taken my eyes off of the good road I was traveling? Whether caused by fatigue or distractions, I have drifted off course and found myself in the ditch, looking at the damage I have caused to others and myself.
I am convinced that if we want it, living a big life is possible for all of us. But, it means we have to learn to do some things a little differently than we have done before. We must learn how to open our hearts to more love, more adventure, more gratitude and a whole lot less fear. And, big living also includes learning to recognize when we are beginning to drift. Finding yourself in a ditch does not have to be fatal, but learning to hear the beep in your head and heart to stay focussed on your path can really save you a lot of hurt and heartache on your journey.