March is here, and the snow is still with us. Recently I overcame a decade-long phobia of driving over snow and ice, but I still don’t relish winter storms. I read the Book of Job in its entirety for the first time this week as part of Nicky and Pippa Gumbel’s Bible in One Year program available through the free Bible.com reading app. Near the close of Job, God mentions something about snow that resonated so deeply for me that I decided to superimpose the verses on one of my snow photos:
The idea that snow could be associated with perilous times is not alien to me at all. For nearly ten years, the mere presence of snow was a peril unto itself. I had the unfortunate experience of having the brakes of a now-defunct van give out while I was driving in snow. It wasn’t a matter of the brakes locking up because I wasn’t allowing enough stopping distance in the snow. Unknown to me at the time, the van had been leaking brake fluid, and I had no fluid left at all by the time I started up the van on that snowy day. I drove a mile through town and coasted through four stop signs (thank God I was the only who happened to be driving through those intersections at the time!). I managed to get the van stopped at my parent’s house, and those tense moments of sailing through the stop signs in the snow haunted me entirely too many times over the next ten years.
I tried getting past this phobia in many ways. Brief therapy. Rides from friends and family during snowstorms (in all honesty, sometimes when there was just the mere threat of snowfall). I even bought a SUV with all wheel drive. Still, I’d despair at the prospect of driving in winter weather, even though I’d gradually been doing better with driving myself though ice or snow. It’s not that I was quaking with the the physical signs of fear. It was like a proverbial brick wall would appear that demanded I drive nowhere, that almost nothing was worth the risk of driving in snow.
Recently I tried something entirely different. I’ve been experiencing a renewal of my faith, inspired in part by my daughter’s sudden, unexplained decision to read the Bible from cover to cover. We’ve started attending our neighborhood Methodist church, and one of the women in the congregation was kind enough to give me a copy of Sarah Young’s Jesus Calling, a daily devotional that addresses anxiety among other issues that can erode one’s peace of mind. A few weeks ago, when I was doing the day’s reading from that book, I decided to try trusting that God could help me with my winter driving problem.
A few days later, we had a four-inch overnight snowfall, and almost none of our local streets had been cleared by the time I needed to leave for work. When I looked out of our front door at the snow, I felt no dread and no plot emerged in my mind to call someone to come and get me. I waited for news that my daughter’s school day would be cancelled, gathered my things for work and drove five miles through the snow with no resistance or anxiety whatsoever.
I’m glad that my snow phobia is over. Before the brake malfunction ten years ago, I seldom thought about winter driving, let alone agonize over it. It’s a relief to be back in that state of mind on the subject.