We’re wrapping up our staycation, so this is the last repost for awhile… some great advice from an old friend:
Seat position? Check.
Hands at ten-and-two? Check.
Pedals from left-to-right: clutch, brake, gas. Check.
Herd of cattle in the middle of the road? Check. Check. Check. Check. Check. Check. Check. Check. Check. Check. Check. Check. Check. Check. Check. Check. Check. Check. Check. Check. Check. Check. Check. Check. (There were quite a few cows present.)
I was at the very beginning of my adventure of being a driver. I don’t even know that I had a Learner’s Permit yet, but our family friend, Albert, was going to spend a few minutes with me while I played my hand at driving his aged and well- loved Chevy S-10 pickup. We were on a quiet dirt road behind my grandparents’ place and it was time to test my standard-transmission-driving mettle. It was a perfect day for a drive.
Except, of course, for the dozens of cattle lazily staring at the white half-ton truck and its occupants.
I would begin to move forward and then stop. Start. Stop. Start. Stop. The cycle repeated itself as I tried to intimidate our cud-chewing companions.
Albert was patient.
For a while.
The cows in the road were distracting me. They were big. They were stupid. And they were in the road. One of those cows would easily be victorious in a ‘Half-ton Pickup Truck vs. Bessie the Cow’ match; forget trying to take on the entire herd before us. This wasn’t my truck and I hoped Albert would let me drive it again sometime—but if our adventure together resulted in a cow-shaped dent on the vehicle, I had a feeling no further opportunities would be coming my way.
Start. Drive a little. Get too close to cows. Stop.
What was I to do? Honking the horn didn’t work–the animals didn’t even flinch. Should I get out of the truck, wave my arms, and try to ‘shoo’ them (they outnumbered me…and maybe that’s what they were waiting for before making their ‘move’)? What about trying to identify their leader and negotiate a settlement with these bovine invaders: you move off the road and we won’t barbecue anything but chicken for the rest of the year? I hoped Albert would just drive the truck to some other cattle-free lane and I could try my hand at driving there.
But then Albert gave me some of the most important advice anybody has ever given me when it comes to life and leadership. I didn’t believe him at first. In fact, I thought it was the dumbest thing I’d ever heard. His advice was counter-intuitive and, from my perspective, possibly an invitation for an insurance claim. But he insisted, and I was amazed when I actually did what he instructed.
He told me,
“Just keep moving; they’ll get out of the way.”
Rather than stopping because I saw the obstacle, I continued to move ahead…and the cows cleared the way. They didn’t want to be hit by the little white truck any more than I wanted the little white truck to hit them.
Now, I know it’s a simple story—and probably reveals a little too much about my upbringing—but I wonder how many times we’ve stopped in our tracks or changed course in our life journey because of an obstacle that lays ahead when if we had just kept moving, we would have discovered the ‘obstacle’ wasn’t has scary or formidable as we had first thought.
No, not every difficult situation or obstacle we’re confronted with can be overcome just by continuing to blindly move forward; there are times when continuing on a chosen path can bring destruction and the obstacles mean we really do need to re-think our next step. But do me a favor and reflect about what obstacle lies in your path today when it comes to your plans for the future, your desires for your family, the activities of your job, the current state-of-affairs at your church, or even the dream God has placed deep in your heart. Maybe that obstacle is nothing more than a ‘herd of cattle,’ and you should heed Albert’s advice: Just keep moving. They’ll get out of the way.