I can remember what seems a long time ago, my first driving experience. My poor Grandmother was my driving instructor and I'm sure that I gave her many a white knuckle as she grasped for something to brace herself, or slamming her foot down on the carpet only to to find there is no brake on the passenger side. I studied the drivers examination book at least twice daily. Many times, I would wake up with the manual still in my hand because I had "zoned out". I'm not sure what I disliked more - the actual driving or studying the manual.

The drivers manual contained lots of good practical information, such as the 10-2 o'clock hand position on the steering wheel, recommended safe distance, and driving on freeways and/or inclement weather. It contained signs that I would encounter while driving and how to interpret, and react to them. These were all things that were within my control.  What isn't within my control are others on the road, weather, and detours.

I'm pretty sure my hands became white from death-gripping the steering wheel as I entered the freeway. Freeway driving was, and still is to a certain extent a white-knuckle affair for me. Many lanes, many road sign, and many drivers. I go through at least one "internal road rage" episode a day. Those that swerve from lane to lane, those that cut across several lanes at one shot to make an exit that I'm pretty sure that they were full aware they needed to exit from, and those that love to tailgate. I wonder (sometimes aloud in my car) how they got their license. After all, they had to read the same manual and take the same test as I did!

I've seen many cars that look like they shouldn't be on the road. Fully cracked windshields, missing parts, bald tires. All things which should be flagged with State Inspection. And yet again, I wonder to myself why they allow their cars to be driven in those conditions! I observed many cars that obviously (to me) that shouldn't be driving around in winter weather, or driving excessively fast in winter weather. My observations.

I can liken this scenario to the gospel. We are all on this journey through life. We all progressed from tiny babies to adults. Some of of have embraced the gospel and many still have not found it or rejected it. In any event, we have all forgotten about our pre-life experience, and what I believe to be our "exit interview". We have the scriptures as our earthly manual filled with good practical information to traverse life. We have living prophets who counsel us with "addendums or clarifications" to the manual. Our earthly manual teach us how to get along with others as well as earthly freeway traversing, and how to avoid detours to our salvation. 

As parents, we have the divine responsibilities to raise our children; teaching them the gospel. Sometimes, the  journey of mortality can include "white knuckles", where we brace ourselves for decisions that our children make, even after we have "taught them correct principles". The white knuckles are apparent during the "they govern themselves" part of life. And I would make mention that many times, decisions we make cause "white knuckles" for our Father in Heaven. We only have direct responsibility for our family unit; what others do or do not do are most of the time out of our control. Like the drivers that swerve down the freeways of life with reckless abandon, we cannot control their actions. We can only steer our own lives. Even those that I would have thought would know better (read fellow LDS) steer their own paths. They have the manual (and I would suppose that they read at least part of it), but are free to drive their lives the way they want to. 

Within my own influence, I can find much room for improvement. In doing a spiritual inspection, I find that, while many things I can pass on, there are some things that are in need of attention. I share just a few to make the point that I am not perfect - I have many faults and weaknesses, and that I have no right judging anyone.

How many times, do we sit (or lay down) to read/study the scriptures, or other reading material? For me, it is dangerous to be laying down reading because my mind can, and does wander. It's sort of like some of the more memorable (to me, not Heavenly Father) prayers I used to give:

Dear Heavenly Father, I thank Thee for this day - hmm I wonder if I locked the car?
I'm grateful for everything Thou hast given me - Man! dinner was gross tonight, I hope I don't get stuck with that again tomorrow for leftovers!
I pray that Thy Spirit will attend as I study Thy word - Haha! That episode of 'The Newleywed Game' was awesome!

And so forth. I hope I'm not alone in this area. The "cruise control" is on. I'm doing what I'm supposed to be doing, but the mind wanders. I'm not giving my full attention. Or when I'm reading some familiar passage of scripture, the mind starts to wander.

I find myself, at times frustrated with others for what I believe they should know better. The condition of their lives (to me) is preventable. Even though I don't publicly announce them by name, I am still judging them. The Savior taught, "...judge not lest ye be judged." My grandmother taught me something, that many times I forget about, but am reminded once again with this blog post. She said:

If it's not pertinent to your personal or family salvation, then it's really none of your major concern

How true this is! If we concentrate on ourselves and our family unit - those within our eternal responsibility, we will find much to do there. And we will find less time to be concentrating on others who we have no eternal responsibility for.

So as we are driving down the freeways of life, we need to have our eternal defense system on; that we concentrate on the journey, use little if any cruise control, avoid places and things which will dull our eternal senses, and most importantly - to stop and rest occasionally and enjoy the scenery that our Father in Heaven has provided for all our journeys.

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