I am a Good Driver

Okay I just have to write this out. I was thinking of writing a piece about driving, say, when I take, finish, and pass my actual driving exam. You know. So that I could write in that celebratory, praise-filled tone and all. But something tells me that now’s time to get these words out and let them finally see daylight.

And so daylight they shall see. Ready?

I’m going to start this driving discourse with this statement – I am a good driver.

I am a good driver, I am a good driver, I am a good driver. 

That statement over and over and over again.

I need to give myself that pep-talk every time I get behind the wheel. The brief intro to my driving history is this:  I’ve never driven a car before. (Okay, that was long). I’ve never driven anything aside from the go-carts in Genting and the bumpcars in EK. I know how to manoeuvre a bicycle though. But still, my cycling history is full of cuts and bruises. When my Dad first taught me how to ride a bike, I must have fallen a thousand times in our dirt driveway in Armidale before I could breeze around successfully. However, more painful than the sting of the numerous wounds that I incurred falling down was the pain of knowing that while I kept toppling over, my younger brother was already levelling up with his one-handed bicycle tricks.

But I did learn eventually. That proves that I do have some sensory motor skills after all. Which is of course a requirement when you’re behind the wheel of a manually driven, gear-operated, complex machine.

I mean, good day gears, come estas clutch, bonjour brake, apa khabar accelerator! Howdy handbrake and salam steering wheel! Oh, and have you met their friends, the left and right signals, the windscreen wiper, the horn, and gosh I don’t know what else?

I am a good driver, I am a good driver, I am a good driver.

I am. I’m learning. I can now go up to 60kph when driving along a straight highway (hey, 60’s the limit for L-license holders!) and I’ve mastered slope-climbing, side-parking, and three-point-turning in the sekolah memandu’s obstacle course. I have problems with sharp curves and traffic lights though, but I’m willing to learn more still so that my final driving exam would be a breeze.

Willing to learn still. Still willing to learn. The crazy thing is that this whole driving thing has become not just a driving thing for me. It has become one huge learning experience in which various parts of my personality – various parts of Mari – gets peeled in layers, gets tested in scores, and gets processed to the core.

Process. I could never have imagined that driving would be such a process for me.

There were (are) those schedule-changing, class-cancelling, event-postponing incidents which would rub against my structured, scheduled nature. I mean, I can be flexible, but only if time would permit me to be so. Unfortunately, time is precious and hard to come by these days. Therefore, if things could stick to schedule, it would be so, so great… but unfortunately, that hasn’t always been the case. So Mari’s heart gets squeezed in tension as the Potter moulds it into a more patient, more flexible, more trusting, and less controlling form.

Mari’s heart also gets some strengthening treatment as the stability of her emotions are put to the test. (Okay, I just did a writing no-no. I’ll shift back to first person now. Release the accelerator, press the clutch, free the gear, move it to the left then push up, release the clutch halfway, watch the car move, press the accelerator a bit, release the clutch fully – and voila, I’m back to writing in the first gear – err, person.) My first three formal lessons were somehow traumatic. I won’t expound (I’ve done so much of that during some of my ranting sessions) but I have come to learn of the degree of how words and hostility truly affect a person’s performance and behaviour. Really. Words are my “love language”, so when you use them on me in an “unloving” manner, it’s often difficult for me to take. I believe this is true for most and not just for me as words have the power to give destruction or to bring forth life.

So… let’s just say that I’ve had my share of hostile words for this season. But thankfully, God’s redeeming those words with His and I’m choosing to drown out the negativity with His positivity. I’m saying, “I am a good driver, I am a good driver, I am a good driver” and God is also saying, “You are, you are, you are,” with me and with that matching, “Kayang-kaya mo yan!” cheer pa.

This driving thing is also teaching me to fight on and not give up. I’m supposed to take my pre-test tomorrow to see if I’m ready for next Tuesday’s exam but it was, unfortunately, postponed (see previous paragraph about patience and flexibility). If it’s becoming such a hassle already, wouldn’t it be so much easier if I just forget the whole thing and just let my L-licence expire? But I’m not going to do that. I am a finisher. I will finish this. And really, I took on this driving gig for a higher purpose. Sure, there’s a need to learn because of the location of my workplace… but there’s also a need to learn because… well, if you must know, we can discuss the matter personally. ;) So like I said. Higher purpose. No way am I going to give up. No way. No way.

I can do this.

So now I’m thinking if I’m making my driving experience out to be too big a thing. Minsan naisip ko parang ambabaw lang nito. But then again, if whole thing is moulding me to become a better person (not just skill-wise but also soul-wise, emotion-wise, spirit-wise – you know, the whole deal ) then I refuse to see it as shallow.

Let’s all celebrate when this whole thing is through.

I am a good driver, I am a good driver, I am a good driver.

Also an obstacle course of life.


“Trying to find a moment with You
These days are speeding by
This ring gives me a new point of view
I’m a dealer of my time…”
(Bethany Dillon, Say Your Name)

Say Your Name by Beth Dillon. I can really relate to the song except for the ring part. Miss Dillon must have penned these lyrics during those busy days after her marriage with Shane Barnard (okay, so that makes her Mrs. Barnard) because the verse that comes right after says, “And if I can make a confession, my time is torn between the man who has won my affections and the God who made me.” Hrmmm. Go Beth!

But let me focus on the first verse and the part that says “these days are speeding by.” Indeed they are. I can’t believe it’s October already.

Last weekend I marched on a stage (with no power interruptions, yey!) to take my Masters certificate (okay, just a dummy one, I got the real one yesterday). Last (oops, last last) month I was in Johor Bahru with world changers hungry to transform nations. Last year I was walking around Kuala Lumpur looking for companies to act as respondents for my thesis. Last last year I almost got deported having had to stay “illegally” in Malaysia because of long lost passport procedures. And the year before that – okay stop me before I take that walk again down granny memory lane.

My point is that time flies. Days hurry by, turning into months, turning into years… and years… and then more years.

Sometimes we are eager to let time zoom by. Like when we’re anticipating a certain date or event and we’d wish that that day would come oh so quickly. Or like when we’re moving towards a particular dream or aspiration and we’d rather get over the mundanity of today more speedily.  Or like when we’re going through a particular process and we’d yearn to reach its end point in a less excruciating, more fastforward pace.

But sometimes we’d rather freeze the seconds and let the moments and the days drag on. Like when we know we’ve only got a few months, weeks, days, or hours left with visiting – or relocating – friends and family members.  Or like when we’re having the best day ever and we don’t want the joy and the laughter to come to an end. Or like when we’re cramming for our exams and we realize that we’ve still got three quarters of a dozen books left to pore over.

And sometimes we’re torn between wanting both. We’re stuck in the dilemma of wanting to let time fly by and wanting it to stop dead still.

But we can never control time. Manage it, yes, but control it, no. The seconds tick, tick, tick as they do ever regularly and unswervingly.

So what then could we do? What then should we do?

In 2005, I wrote the following paragraphs:

“This, perhaps, may be the reason why the importance of seizing the day has suddenly become so real to me. Each day holds an important lesson no matter how mundane a day may be. And if a boring day still holds a lesson, what more the exciting and activity packed day? If we forget or neglect to seize the day – if we let it pass without getting anything from it – then we lose out on so many nuggets of wisdom and lessons in life. 

“How do we seize the day? Living every moment (as opposed to JUST existing in every moment) is a start and grabbing the valuable lessons follows. Yet our memories can not retain every event, every lesson, and every emotion from each day so seizing the day may also include CAPTURING the moment forever – not just in our  memories but perhaps in a drawing, a painting, a poem, a song, or a piece like this. That way we can go back to the memory if our brains forget to retain it.

“Seize the day… seize the day… may the importance of seizing the day also be real to you – never let a single day pass without experiencing the fullness of that day.”

I’m surprised at the mixture of wisdom and childlikeness contained in that 17-year-old’s melancholic musing.

I have to go back to that and make every day beautiful, every day the masterpiece that it is.

Carpe diem. : )

one minute
Make that minute count.