Where Are You Looking? (That’s Where You’re Going.)

Heather K. Duff
Oct 9 · 3 min read
Photo by Malte Lu from Pexels

Daily Wise: Look straight ahead, and fix your eyes on what lies before you. Mark out a straight path for your feet; stay on the safe path. Don’t get sidetracked; keep your feet from following evil. –Proverbs 4:25–27

Merriam-Webster Definition of FIX: (2a) to hold or direct steadily


Look where you’re going.

Gosh, that seems simple. Almost too simple for an article topic. What else is there to say?

But it isn’t simple, is it?

I Wasn’t Lookin’

I borrowed my mother’s car when I was seventeen. I don’t remember where I was headed, but for some reason I had to turn the car around. Maybe I forgot something at home. (The details are foggy because this is a story I’ve tried to forget.) Anyway, maneuvering a bus-sized Ford LTD — I think that’s what it was — with a three-point turn on a two-lane country road was much better in theory than in practice.

I got nervous and didn’t look where I was going…or, where I was supposed to be going.

I backed that baby right into the ditch.

At seventeen, there aren’t many things more horrifying than seeing your mom’s car planted in a ditch. I remember thinking how odd it was, the front end pointed upward, aiming for the sky.
Thankfully, someone helped me out.

No need to call Dad for the rescue.
No need for Mom to even know.
My little secret.
Except for this one thing, you see.

My dad was the sort of man who would take this little proverb to heart.

He fixed his eyes on what was before him. And what was “before him” was anything that had anything whatsoever to do with his domain, his little piece of the earth, humble abode, whatever you want to call it. And this was especially true of his family fleet of vehicles. He kept a notebook on each one, with maintenance history and what-not.

A few days after “the incident,” my dad casually mentioned the mud caked on the undercarriage of the car.

Gee. I hadn’t thought to hide that evidence. Because, I mean, why would he be looking at the undercarriage of the car?

Who does that?

Did he drop a nickel beside the car, stop to pick it up, then happen to notice a glob of dirt and weeds lodged in there?

I fessed up. Sort of. I’m sure I was light on the details, and he didn’t press me for them.

I learned a lot through this experience.

I learned that sometimes it’s better to just keep going instead of trying to turn your bus around.

I learned that panic is an awful decision maker.

I’d like to say I learned to “Look straight ahead, and fix my eyes on what lies before me,” but that lesson would take many more years to sink in.

Most of all, I learned again that I could trust my father.

I ditched the car, the car that was in my father’s name. It didn’t escape his notice. It was his car and he kept his eye on it. And more importantly, I was his. And that father’s eye would watch over me too. When I wasn’t looking where I was going, he was.

There is great comfort in such things. These are the kind of people you can count on, the ones who hold a steady gaze on what lies in front of them.

It’s good to be “in front of” people like this. Yeah, sometimes they see things we wish they hadn’t. But they see. They see us. And still, we are loved.

How about you? Where are you looking?
Because that’s where you’re going.
And chances are, you’re taking someone with you.

Heather K. Duff

Written by

You make me want to be a better writer.

Welcome to a place where words matter. On Medium, smart voices and original ideas take center stage - with no ads in sight. Watch
Follow all the topics you care about, and we’ll deliver the best stories for you to your homepage and inbox. Explore
Get unlimited access to the best stories on Medium — and support writers while you’re at it. Just $5/month. Upgrade