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  • Writer's pictureJane Wheeler

Life On The Edge - Throw Out The Rear-View Mirror

I was headed into church last Sunday and I saw something that will probably stay with me forever.

It was around 9:30am and I was on the highway, so doing 100 km/hour, it was a flat stretch before me but looking up a slight hill. The sun was shining in the front window so it was a bit hard to see as the vehicles coming towards me had a reflection.

I focused at the top of the hill and the pick up truck right at the crown of the hill and noticed that he seemed to be in my lane. I could see under the truck better than the top of the truck because of the sun. It grabbed my attention as the yellow line in the center of the road was not in the right spot as he came towards me.

He eventually (a matter of seconds as we are both speeding towards each other) got over to his lane and as he got closer I saw something weirdly hanging off the side of his truck. We passed each other each in our own lane and as he went by I saw a guy, a man sitting outside of the truck window with his legs inside but his upper body was totally outside the truck window with his arms on the roof.

Shocked I thought what in the world was that passenger hanging out of the truck window for, it was so dangerous! He could fall out. But as I looked in my review mirror trying to take in what I was seeing, I realized it was the driver window this guy was hanging out of. He was sitting on the window sill of the truck with his legs inside – probably steering the wheel with his knees and the rest of him was outside of the vehicle. I believe he was having a joy ride.

Had my brain been up to its usual “fastness”, I would have done an immediate u-turn and followed him to get a license number but I was so stunned that someone would be so foolish, more like stupid, to pull a stunt like that on the highway.

I panicked and looked around him and me to see if any other vehicles were coming and would also be in danger but thankfully I did not see another vehicle in sight.

I eventually called Brian and tried to explain over the phone what I had just seen and vented a lot about how dare someone put my life and the life of others in danger just because they wanted to have some “fun”.

It was reckless, stupid, illegal and put both himself (and any passengers – I did not see any but my eyes were totally glued on moron man).

It was so shocking, so surprising and so extreme that I was speechless for quite a long time. When I tried to talk to Brian, I could not even find words at first.

Brian was the one who came up with the phrase that the guy must like “living on the edge.” I groaned over the pun, but it also was the perfect name for this fellow.

It was an eerie, unsettling feeling to know someone could care less about their own life or the lives of others.

Living on the edge a phrase that stirs up adrenaline rush, taking chances, death wish, foolish and in this case we can clearly see that in action. But what about other things we do that could be put into this same category?

How about things we do to our bodies? We eat too much and harm ourselves, or we starve or make ourselves throw up so we “look” good to others. Both are disastrous for our health and our bodies, this could be deemed living on the edge.

How about working too much? Is it really healthy and necessary to work more than 35-40 hours per week? But the customers need you, the boss is counting on you…. Your body needs proper food, proper rest and proper sleep to be able to function at it’s best. Working too much gets in the way of that – living on the edge until such time as your body says, “no more” and gives up, and it will.

I have heard it said about the “over working” that we have to make hay while the sun shines and you know living on the prairie, I get that. But I also get the statement on each flight you take that says, “put your own oxygen mask on first before you help others.” If you are not available to be there for your family or your health, making hay won’t matter at all at the end.

What about living in the past? Is that like living on the edge??

I took this picture of Mocha – who is feeling so much better these days, thank you to all who have prayed for her!

This is what I see in my rear-view mirror when she is riding with me. If she had her way, she would be either totally up front in the passenger seat or getting petted continually for the entire drive. Instead I get to see her eyes as she watches everything that goes by intently. She blocks the rear-view and it is unnerving having those eyes stare back at you from the mirror.

I got to thinking about the rear-view mirror and the analogy of looking back over our shoulder at the past. When you are looking backwards, it is like the past is staring back at you and you tend to crash into things as you keep trying to moving forward. Or, you could simply stay in one spot, stuck, as you keep looking back. In both of these cases, you are not getting anywhere.

I was stuck for a number of years after some traumatic things happened in my world. It took time to sort it, it took working things through with God and lot of Godly counselling and it took being brave enough to confront the past and not letting the past control me, in order for me to move forward. The past was robbing me of my life, it had been staring me down and I finally got enough courage to take control of me.

I saw this on Pinterest: "Your wound is probably not your fault, but your healing is your responsibility." Denice Frohman

While I was staring at Mocha, I thought, if I keep thinking about the past, stare and focus on the past, it keeps me trapped. It sucks the life and strength out of me because I am giving all my attention to what is in the past, instead of reserving my strength for moving forward. If you find yourself thinking thoughts or comments like: “it’s their fault that my life is like this!” or “I cannot forgive them, you do not know what they did?” or “I am so hurt by their actions, I will never get over it” or the most frequent that I hear and often say.... “I am sick and tired of ……” you are staring in the rear-view mirror, stuck in the past.

Kind of like that guy in the truck who was half in and half out, if we are trying to move forward while looking back - we are half in forward motion and half in backward motion and really not moving anywhere, it is a dangerous place to be. Had that guy fallen, I probably would have run him over and what a mess that would been. I think when we are in that place stuck between the two, it is a place where we too can often fall and it gets messy.

Looking in the rear-view mirror – you cannot safely proceed if you are looking back over your shoulder. As a matter of fact, you will not heal, you will not find freedom and you will not find a lot of joy or purpose while you are looking backwards. Only you can make the decision to change this, it is a tough decision to tackle our past.

When we decide to stop, look behind us and say, "Hey! You are not going to control me anymore" and we get the help and we do the work and we stop blaming and shaming ourselves. It can be scary to reopen wounds, to have to think about things again. But as I have watched so many brave souls rise up and take on that rear view mirror, those past memories staring them down, they are champions. They get to the point where they can re-adjust the mirror or simply rip it off and throw it away. Yes, they have wounds and brokeness but also as a survivor of trauma, they contain a strength beyond measure.

Like this guy on the highway, after he passed me – I felt much safer. After Mocha laid down in the back of the car, I have a clear view behind me. There is nothing pressing in on me, nothing blocking my lane and I am able to see behind me with clarity because the past has been processed and now I can proceed forward safely.

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