A Dog Returns to its Vomit

It was an experience like no other, but still like so many others in my life.  The most real similar example was when we had a cable wire running across the front of our yard on top of the ground. I think that I was 10.  Thinking I was a good lawnmower operator, I decided I would get as close as possible to the line lying on top of the ground so that the area of uncut grass would not be nearly as noticeable and I would not have to weedwack as much.  Not being as talented as I thought, I caught the cable with the blade of the mower and cut it right away.  Not only that, but I saw dad returning home coming down the road, so I ran inside knowing that mom was in the house.  I was scared to death.  Dad had told me so many times that I didn’t need to get remotely close to the wire.  The uncut grass would be fine until they buried the wire.  If only I would have listened, right?  That seems to be the story of my life.  Hearing more experienced people give me warnings about risks that I should not attempt, yet I still run directly to those risky situations and fail miserably in the end.

Another obvious example is my first speeding ticket on Thanksgiving eve in a construction zone.  Knowing that the speed limit was 55, I still decided to go faster than I should have, and I suffered the consequences of my actions as often happens.  Whatever a man reaps, that shall he sow, right? Yet again, if only I had listened to those warning signs and voices.  My dad again told me he couldn’t believe that I didn’t know that tons of cops would be out the night before Thanksgiving.  I guess I know that now.

You might be wondering what these stories have to do with each other.  The day after last Christmas, I was on the way home from my girlfriend’s house at about 4:15 am. I fell asleep while driving, ran off the road  in the middle of Roanoke, and hit a light pole, destroying my car, but causing little physical injury to myself.  I know that I have trouble falling asleep when I drive, yet I still moved forward with this risky situation.  The real name for my thinking in all of these situations is insanity because I am doing the same thing over and over, expecting a different result.  This is not the first time that I have been coming home late from my girlfriend’s house, nor is it the first time that I have fallen asleep at the wheel and woken up in some dangerous situations.  Not only that, but people who are close to me have told me many times that I could just come home earlier when I am less tired.  So like a dog returns to its vomit to eat it up, knowing that it’s disgusting, I returned to my vomit, falling asleep in my car, going off the road and nearly killing myself.

When I got out of my car after slamming into the light pole, I was overwhelmed with the same feeling as when I had cut the cable wire and when the cop turned on his lights behind me.  I was upset with myself.  I began crying, pulled out my phone and called my dad right away, who happened to be on an ambulance call already, so I called my mom, who answered and started her trek over to Roanoke to pick me up.  This feeling is one of the only things in my life that I fear more than anything else.  It’s an emotion that is filled with horror and vulnerability.  It’s a humbling feeling, an ego-destroyer.  Of all the things in my life that I struggle with, it is this need as an American male to be in control and know what I am doing all the time.  This idea of an ego.  I sat in my car, wanting to hide from reality and give up on trying to be a youth minister, someone that people look up to because I have just let down all of those people that respect me as a leader.  What do I say to the kids on the basketball team or the students that come to youth group on Wednesday nights?  I felt like I had just been caught red-handed stealing cookies from the cookie jar in the kitchen after mom has told me a million times to not even try it.

It seems like this is God’s way of letting me know that I cannot get away with the same stupid actions all the time like driving home late.  For every action, a possible consequence is waiting at my back door.  I had acknowledged these possible consequences, but I had chosen to ignore them and still try and drive.  Looking back,  I doubt that God had that much to do with it as much as maybe the chances were greater that I would fall asleep during this trip because I had driven home late so many times before and narrowly missed wrecking my car on several occasions.  It was bound to happen sooner or later, and this time happened to be it.

So what do I take from this experience and these feelings? I already knew that driving tired could be dangerous, but I chose to ignore that in this instance.  Maybe its the basic principle that Paul talks about in Galatians: you reap what you sow (6:7).  If you sow little sleep during several consecutive days, your chances of reaping a car wreck or narrowly missing dangerous situations are much better.   I also realized that sometimes reality comes back to bite you,  sometimes harder than you expect.  Let me know what you think.


~ by randallkoehler on May 12, 2011.

One Response to “A Dog Returns to its Vomit”

  1. Because I know that my thoughts on these situations are a thing of the past, I won’t say them again, especially since I know you know the lesson to be learned. But I do have a question, have you learned it? You’ve said a few ways that you have exhibited this “dog returning to vomit” syndrome, but how is that applied to your life now? What changes have you made? Do you listen to the voices that try to govern and keep you from harm, or do you still just take them into consideration and do your own thing anyway? I guess thinking about all this again has made me wonder how you’ve been.

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