On My Mind: Driving Side by Side
There is a short portion of a nearby freeway that is under construction. The posted speed limit is 55mph—not unusual for a freeway construction zone. Even though it takes great self-control for a pedal-to-the-metal kind of girl, I have been particularly deliberate to follow the speed limit through this zone. I don’t know what motivates this rigorous exercise: maybe the signs stating “Fines Doubled in Work Zones”, perhaps I want to set an example to my back seat driver, or maybe it is just to prove to myself that I can do it. It has not taken long to realize that most people do not share this same desire of speed limit obedience in the construction zone. Those who whiz past me certainly tempt me to just throw self-control out the window. Sometimes I feel the anger and frustration inside begin to boil at the passers-by as if they have personally offended me by choosing to go faster than me.
At the same time, I have found something unusually comforting when I come upon a fellow construction zone speed limit follower. We drive side-by-side or one in front of the other and in doing so, I don’t feel so alone. I feel more comfortable going the posted speed limit. And, I don’t feel so out of place; rather, I feel confident.
Infertility has made me feel unusual, out of place, and very alone at times, just like driving the speed limit in a construction zone. In fact, infertility has made me feel just plain slow in comparison to others. I need not tell you that it is difficult to see people pass by you at great speeds on the road to family building. There is a large part of me that thinks that I am missing out on a part of life that they will get to way before me.
Every once in a while, on the road of life, I come upon someone else who is driving at my speed. How comforting it is to know that there are others driving next to me, offering additional confidence as I sometimes feel very self-conscious about where I am in life. I have a dear friend from high school who is one of my fellow travelers. While most of our friends have whizzed past us, leaving us in the dust long ago, she and I keep each other company going a different speed limit. Our lives have turned out much differently than we anticipated, but we have learned that these lives we are living are far from insignificant or insufficient—they are just different. How grateful I am for this dear friend, and many, many others who travel close to me. Sure, others will inevitably fly past me and will probably get to different life experiences before me, but how wonderfully refreshing it is to have someone driving right there with me, cheering me on, and helping me recognize that my life has its own touch of greatness.
Of course I find great comfort knowing that my Savior is always driving next to me. During His ministry in mortality, He proved His compassion and the depth of power He had to heal and to lift those who had cause to feel a little slower than the others. Even now, He walks by each of us to give us strength, to encourage us, and bring confidence and peace to our lives. All we need to do is seek Him out and identify His hand in the details of our lives. How exquisitely this scripture describes the comfort available to us: “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness,” (Isaiah 41:10).
May we each be blessed to recognize, to see, and to share with our fellow travelers so we can all be strengthened and encouraged.
*Please note that I am not insinuating that those who have children are breaking the law by “going faster” than those who are dealing with infertility.
12 October 2009