Anyone who has driven in or out of Los Angeles, California over Interstate 5 knows just how daunting the Grapevine pass is, especially the long, steep southbound side heading up out of Bakersfield. It is not uncommon on a hot day to see numerous steam-gushing vehicles stopped on the side of the road. Its extreme incline is also the reason the northbound side of this section of the Grapevine has multiple truck escape ramps and a posted top speed for semis of 40 miles per hours. It would be easy for a loaded truck to gain some serious momentum going down. Even your average automobile will naturally gain speed causing most drivers to apply their brakes several times as they descend.
I’m one of those who does exactly that; no need to get crazy in a vehicle and risk life and limb. After all that’s why the brakes are there; and let’s face it, there are enough crazy drivers in California after all (I can claim this since I’ve driven in southern California my entire life; the truth is California drivers, specifically those in the L.A. area, are typically more skilled at driving than most drivers due to amount of hours they spend in traffic). While I may be cautious on this stretch of highway, I have a friend who will put his car in neutral and coast down from the top in order to see just how much momentum he can gain. Once at the bottom, he puts it back in gear and continues on his way.
What would happen if he didn’t make the choice to put it back in gear?
The question is one I’ve asked myself lately, oh not about the Grapevine, but about my own life. After all I have some decent, positive momentum in my life. I have raised two wonderful children that are successfully embarking on their own adult journeys. I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to serve in the local church in leadership and lay capacities that have impacted myself and others positively. My steps in the furniture building business have been ordered in such a way that I and Bertolini Sanctuary Seating have been privileged to support the church in America by building a high quality church chair.
It’s true, we as a nation have hit hard times with economic conditions as they are. They have impacted most if not all of us, including me; and that’s where the choice comes in. Do I just try and coast on my past momentum? Or do I put it back in gear, pressing on (gas pedal) to my destination?
Its would be easy to choose the first, especially on those particularly trying days when life throws the unexpected at me and the first question I ask is, “why me?” But I know in the end that such would be coasting to mediocrity, and I don’t think I want to settle for mediocrity, so…
I’m choosing to put it in gear, hit the gas, and press on!