ISSUES OF FAITH: Faith helps steer when the wheel comes off

I HAVE ALWAYS liked cars. When I was young, I started amassing a huge Matchbox and Hot Wheels car collection. I took good care of my cars and had fun almost anywhere as long as I had a few cars for playing.

When I was 15, I purchased my first real car for $500 — a 1975 Chevy Nova. I started fixing it up and getting it ready to drive, in anticipation of getting my driver’s license on the day I turned 16.

My fascination with cars continued and I purchased more cars. Before I was 21, I owned four cars. Mind you, I didn’t own a home, I was just living with my mom and younger brother, but I had four cars in the driveway. My mother was patient with me. I enjoyed fixing them up, but never wanted to sell them.

Later in life, when I was married with three children, we had three cars, which was not that crazy since my wife drove one of them.

One of our cars was an old 1969 Chevy pickup that I had purchased to fix up. We were moving and I had loaded a bunch of things into the bed of the truck and was taking the I-15 freeway to our new home.

As I got off at the exit, something very alarming happened. The steering wheel came completely off the steering column while I was cruising down the exit. Traveling 50 miles an hour with a disconnected steering wheel in my hands was unforgettable, but I don’t recommend it. I can’t remember if I audibly screamed like Homer Simpson, but I’m sure I looked something like Edvard Munch’s painting, The Scream.

Thankfully, I was able to quickly study the steering wheel and the steering column and put it back in place and steer off to the side of the road. I then found a nut on the floor that was supposed to hold the steering wheel in place and hand-tightened it since I didn’t have any tools with me. That experience probably took a few years off my life.

Sometimes life can feel out of control, like we do not have a steering wheel in place. We might feel like life is aimless and that we have no direction or that things are happening that we cannot guide.

When I have a lot on my mind, I like to go for a drive and contemplate.

For me, being behind the wheel, preferably a well-connected steering wheel, is a place where I can think and ponder. On these drives, the radio is off and my phone is not playing podcasts or music.

It is just me in the solitude of my car. It is a place where I can decompress and unwind.

Often, I will have a prayer in my heart.

If I am feeling anxious or down, there is something exceptionally soothing in listening to uplifting music.

My preference is the Tabernacle Choir. There is something edifying about listening to the 360-member choir performing hymns and other inspiring music. It brings comfort deep into my soul. They have been broadcasting “Music and the Spoken Word” since 1929, so I must not be the only one who enjoys the peace that good music can bring.

When our minds are clear, we can then turn to God in humble prayer and seek His guidance. God gives direction to a life that seems to have none. His Son, Jesus Christ, is the answer to our questions.

Richard G. Scott said, “When we want to speak to God, we pray. And when we want Him to speak to us, we search the scriptures.”

This needed direction comes as I read the Bible and the Book of Mormon. These are the words of God that I turn to in my faith, and then God, metaphorically, puts the steering wheel back on in my life.

_________

Issues of Faith is a rotating column by religious leaders on the North Olympic Peninsula. Bishop Jason Bringhurst is the leader of the Mount Pleasant Ward of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Port Angeles. His email is jasonbring@gmail.com.

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