Perhaps one of those words, or another that I can’t think of, is how I felt that day. It was March and I was a sexy teenager. After spending all winter learning how to drive, it was time to take the test.
I always feel cocky whenever I drive in harsh weather if only because I took my driver’s test in that kind of weather. Snow and ice doesn’t bother me that much. On the flip side, the whole time I was learning was during the winter and so I’m probably a more timid driver because I almost always drive as if there’s ice on the road.
Anyway, it’s March. Thursday.
You might have done some parking and other practices in an empty parking lot, right? Maybe it was very early or very late at night when there were no cars around.
That’s what I went through with my dad.
During my time behind the wheel, I realized that I hated driving. I knew going in it wasn’t Mario Kart. By the way, I will destroy in any Mario Kart. Let me know. I promise to make you cry. Anyway, I knew it was serious and that’s why, even to this day, I don’t really enjoy driving. I’m constantly scared of hitting somebody whether a car or a person.
The last thing I had to practice was parallel parking. Oh Lord. I got all other tricks of the trade down. I just couldn’t, for the love of God, get in between those shopping carts in one smooth motion.
Even that early Thursday morning, I was freaking out. “I can’t fail this test. I can’t”. Right. My mom tried to console me. “Oh, I didn’t pass my first time.” She said this a while ago. See, when I went to take my written test, I failed. And failed. And failed. I think it took me four or five times before I got it. My mom said she pulled it off easily.
We all have our strengths and weaknesses or some crappy morale lesson like that. I wasn’t hearing it.
Of course, each time I took the test, my grade got better and better so I kinda felt better about the situation. I was heading in the right direction.
So, here I am, in the Costco parking lot with these two shopping carts. Will I have to do this test over and over? My goodness. What if I wreck and kill us all? It could happen. It would. I knew it.
It was cold that morning. Here I was, trying and trying. I had class to go to. I didn’t have that much time to mess around. Playing with myself and such. I had to get this. This was my last shot until the actual test later that afternoon.
It was probably about five minutes before I would have to call it quits. My dad wanted me to try it again. See, my biggest struggle was memorizing how to move the wheel when in reverse. I don’t know what it was; I just couldn’t turn the right way. I would always have to pause to remember. Being the almost perfectionist that I am, I had to do it in one swift motion. No hesitation. No thought. Just do it.
I gripped the wheel. And I stared in front of me. I kid you not, I saw something so amazing and incredible, I credit that sight as getting me through the day. See, I was next to the cart return. Do you know what that is, or are you the jerk that leaves the cart anywhere you want?
Oh, where was I? Oh yeah, the sight. Well, sitting on the cart return pole, was a freaking dove. That’s right. A dove. It was staring right at me. There were no other birds. Just that one. And the first thing that came to mind was when Jesus was baptized and the Holy Spirit came down in the form of a dove.
I looked at the dove for a few moments but it felt longer than that. I immediately felt…warmth. Comfort. I felt like everything would be fine.
Jesus, Dante, it’s just a bird. It’ll fly away as soon as you start moving; just like all birds do.
But it didn’t. It sat there. I did my parking and when I turned back, the dove was still there! Just sitting on the pole staring right at me. I was floored! I was convinced that the Holy Spirit came to me in the form of a dove to tell me it would be alright.
But, was it? I still had to take the test.
That past park I did was my best one so far. I had relaxed and did it. I went to school and then, it was time.
Scared. Nervous. Worried.
All of those feelings did come back. Now, I’ve done many concerts with the saxophone. I’ve done my solos in the choir. I’ve done a few plays. The worst feeling is the time before. Each second that goes by, the knot gets tighter. I stress more and more. I know I’m not alone in this. It sucks because you’re thinking about that the whole time. Like maybe you’re giving a speech at a dinner party. You’re one of the last people to take the mic.
If you’re like me, you can’t even enjoy the party because you’re worried about getting your stuff right. Sure, you have some notes; but, they’re only reminding you of the bulk of your speech.
That’s how I was. It was a long line too. Person after person started the test. They got their instructor and that was it. I’m sitting in the car, waiting. Watching my surroundings. I think I saw a girl crying; and I’m pretty sure she didn’t get good news. One instructor looked like a jerk. One of the instructors looked so old, I couldn’t believe she was still able to drive, much less judge somebody else.
Whatever. It’s my turn. My dad hops out of the car and my instructor hops in.
This is when all hell breaks loose.
He was a drill Sargent. I swear he was. I mean, I actually felt insulted. He basically treated me like I was suppose to be Jeff Gordon (not a lot of people know that I’m actually a huge Jeff Gordon fan!). Anyway, at the end of the test, I was emotionally scarred. I’m not kidding; those are wounds that haven’t healed yet.
But, that’s not the message of this post. The test started off with parallel parking. That’s right. We got that part out of the way in a hurry.
Here we go. Here I was with this mean man who probably couldn’t see his own penis without a mirror. And here I was, a wide-eyed teen who just wanted his mommy. No turning back now. You gotta get through this.
I can. I had to.
The cones were off in the distance. I had to drive up to them. During my drive, I remembered the dove. And, for the next couple of minutes, that’s all I thought about.
I pulled up to the cones. As you fellow drivers know, you pull up just ahead of the cones so you can begin parking. I put the car in reverse and went back all in one motion. I pulled up a bit, and then put the car in park.
Him: Is that it?
Him: Are you sure you don’t want to move?
The instructor got out of the car and looked at it. He got back in and we continued on as he wrote on his clipboard.
And so, we finished the test. By this time, I was…well, I won’t say crying but, I was on the verge of tears. Like I said, the test was a very traumatic experience dealing with that man. Ultimately, I passed. His number one feedback was that, while I knew what I was doing on the road, I was too timid; as I mentioned before. That’s always been the story of my life. Fully capable but no confidence.
However, the best news I got was that I passed the parallel parking perfectly. He was actually impressed. My dad was impressed too. I couldn’t tell, but he could see that I was exactly in between the cones. It was perfect.
All of the stress. All of the pressure. It was gone. I mean, yeah, I was still crying and still cried for the rest of the day because I was unstable with a range of joy and disappointment and more. But, I survived my parking ordeal because of what I considered to be a miracle.
I don’t know about you. Some people say they’ve met angels in the form of people. I don’t know about that. You may not believe me. That’s fine. Maybe I was high. We don’t know. What I do know is that God is there for His kids.
At some point, He will be there for you. Even non-Christians can have these moments. He will reveal Himself to you. Some ways are obvious and some are not.
For me, it was.
For me, I got to see a Bible tale come to life. It made sense to me. I only remember two instances where a dove played a key part in the Bible. I talked about Jesus being baptized. I also know about Noah using a dove to check on the drying world after the flood. So, for me, seeing that dove act in a non-dove like way was enough.
Don’t take weird instances lightly. Sure, not everything is directly from God as some miracle of sorts. I do mean, we need to look at things with a spiritual lens. Use our spiritual senses. I used those when I wrote my book. In fact, on my first book’s back cover, it tells you to use your spiritual senses.
So that’s it. I just wanted to share my miracle. I actually have not told anybody else about this. All of these years later, I finally talked about it. I don’t know why it took so long. It’s not like I was scared to mention it. My hope in telling you this story is that you are willing to believe that events from the Bible; the miracles from the Bible, can still happen today.
God is God. He was, is, and will be the same person with the same power. We shouldn’t limit the Bible stuff to just the Bible stuff.
Thanks for reading.