Fun fact: in North Carolina, reckless driving is a Class 2 misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $1000 and 60 days in jail. Jail? I had no idea. I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to get it, but I think I’m scared straight.
I prefer to think of myself as merely a zippy driver. Law officials might call it something else. After reading the consequences though, I think I will try to put a little less zip in my giddyup.
When I was 12 or 13 years old, my older cousin took my friend and me on a ride in his Jeep with the top down. We did 100 mph down Main Street. Literally. No exaggeration at all. He and his friends knew the routine and the timing of the small town's only policeman, so they knew when Main Street was not being patrolled. Maybe they weren’t going to get a ticket, but it was still reckless in so many other ways.
When Madi was little, she used to climb really tall trees. She knew no fear. We had two huge cedar trees in our yard. I would be upstairs, and would look out our second story window. She would be up in the tree higher than me. I probably should have yelled at her more; it was reckless for sure, but I also knew the feeling of exhilaration she was feeling.
When I was around 10 years old, my cousin and I were “vacationing“ with our families up in the mountains on family-owned land. She and I would take off in the mornings with our Barbies in tow. We would be gone all day. We would wander around the 40 acres never worrying about wild animals or getting lost. Reckless? Maybe.
Coming back to the campsite at night, there was a fence between us and where we wanted to go. This fence corralled a very large, very mean bull. We could’ve gone the extra distance and walked around, but to us that seemed unnecessary and boring.
Years later, she and I were talking, and I was wondering if perhaps I had made it up or made it bigger in my mind than it actually was when suddenly she asked if I remembered that bull chasing us across the pasture as we cut through it. Definitely reckless.
As I’ve gotten older, I have certainly become less reckless. As a parent, I developed this horrid ability to see the worst case scenario with almost every situation. When Madi was a toddler and learning to walk and run, everything looked like a stumbling block. When Madi was learning to use the stove, I could see her getting burned. It can be both a blessing and a curse.
But there’s another kind of reckless, and I was reminded about this morning: reckless love. We worry about consequences. We keep score. We picture the worst case scenarios. We are afraid to put ourselves out there, to make ourselves vulnerable, for fear of being rejected or thought less of.
In today’s world of dog-eat-dog, and every person for themselves, a world where mental illness and anxiety are on the rise and kindness might be slipping, a little reckless love might go a long way. I keep thinking of Tim McGraw’s song Live Like You Were Dying when he said “And I loved deeper and I spoke sweeter and I gave forgiveness I’d been denying.” What if we jumped in with both feet? What if we sprinkled a little reckless love on what we do and how we interact ? Love with our whole hearts instead of always holding back?