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What’s behind you doesn’t matter

Admittedly, I probably look at the rearview mirror in my car more often than many people. Why I do this is not entirely obvious. Some of it is habit and some of it falls under my definition of being a defensive driver.

Under no circumstances do I jeopardize my view of the road in front of me. But knowing what is behind me is good and bad. On the upside, I can see emergency vehicles that are approaching and for which I need to clear a path. On the downside, it results in my seeing tailgaters, weavers and people behind me doing all kinds of things in their cars.

Tuesday night was an excellent example. The lady behind me appeared to be yelling nonstop at someone behind or next to her in the car. She paid no attention to traffic movement and remained at an intersection quite a bit too long after the light turned green. Afterward, she far exceeded the posted speed limit and dashed in and out between cars. She didn’t bother with staying in her lane or using signals, continuing to yell at her passengers.

On most days, our highways are filled with crazies, some behind, some aside and some ahead of me. My husband, who spent some time driving in Italy, often reminds me that what’s behind you doesn’t matter. According to him, the process of driving is quite a bit different than in the States. Maybe this is a metaphor for life as well as driving.

Inevitably, I have absolutely no control over other drivers, regardless of where they are with respect to me. In the same sense, what’s happened in the past is equally incapable of modification.

While I’m aware of the caveat about forgetting the past condemning us to repeat it, some events and people are quite worthy of remaining in the past. Grudges are things that we need to drop. Jealousy is toxic and injures everyone involved. And resentment is something that can have no possible positive outcomes.

Maybe my husband is correct, with qualifications. Learning, respect and compassion are derived from the teachings we derive from our parents, teachers and others. But dwelling in the last day, last year or last decade makes the view of that which is ahead of us virtually impossible. Shalom.

One thought on “What’s behind you doesn’t matter

  1. If it’s one thing I’ve learned these past few years, it’s that I cannot change anyone else. People are going to drive the way they are driving and nothing we say or do is going to change that. I do not like driving with my husband and so therefore when we go anywhere together, I do most of the driving. The best advice I can give is to just remain calm and breathe and as your husband says, deal with what’s in front of you. Drive safe!


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