It’s the handle they put above passenger side windows in vehicles. You know the one I’m talking about. The one built to hold your dry cleaning when it’s over a backseat window, but when it’s over the front passenger seat, serves no purpose.
That is, no purpose other than to hold onto when riding with a driver determined to end the trip with both of you in a high speed collision induced coma.
My husband loves that handle. He comes from a rather cautious family, to put it mildly.
In his world, every “i” is dotted, every emergency prepared for, and all the angles are covered. This makes him an extraordinary business owner. Extraordinary. A business that has never been in the red. Ever.
But caution can also be a sly disguise for fear, with a nice coat of anxiety on top.
My husband was gripping one of these Oh $h*! Handles, his knuckles bright white, when realization struck. Holding on wouldn’t save him...It was only placating his fear.
Arguably, he had a good reason to fear. He was in the passenger seat of a police patrol car, chasing a suspected car thief. A friend of his from high school recently had become a lawman and my husband went for a ride along. It was while his cop friend was speeding through surface streets, zipping around traffic and taking corners like a Nascar champion, that my husband decided the Oh $h*! Handle was useless.
In a moment of raw calm...he let go.
He’d already trusted his friend not to be reckless with their lives. His seatbelt was snapped in snug around him. The paperwork releasing the PD from any liability was signed and dated.
What was happening during the chase couldn’t be controlled, prepared for, or planned.
And it was one of the best nights of his life.
The car chase, lead to a short foot chase (my husband had to wait in the car for that part), and soon a man was in handcuffs.
My husband now has a story he loves to tell. A story where the details aren’t clouded in fear and anxiety. When he let go of that handle, fear turned to excitement. Anxiety, turned to adrenaline. Doubting a friend, turned into pride for one.
Lately, my life isn’t going as planned. Things I want to happen aren’t, while things I never expected to happen, are.
I feel caught in a high speed chase and I’m hanging on by my thumbnails.
At any moment, my goals could shatter in a fiery crash...or worse, blow an engine and slow down to nothing.
Or maybe they won't. Maybe I'll just get an adrenaline rush and an amazing story to tell.
I just want to be brave enough to let go of the handle, and let it happen.