Friday, December 23, 2011


And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to [his] purpose. Romans 8:28

I know that God challenges me from time to time, to see if I really get it; to see if I have grown up spiritually so that my focus is on what is truly important.

One morning I opened my car door and thought I smelled gasoline. I had just filled the tank the previous day so I assumed that I might have spilled some and it was still lingering. I ran a couple errands and parked my PT back in the garage. The next day the smell of gasoline was heavy enough in the garage that it set off a small alarm tinkling in my head. I decided to take the car in to the local dealership just to see if maybe there was a leak in the gas line. I waited patiently for about 30 minutes and the service manager came in with a look on his face that suggested he was braced for me to swoon or something. He reported, with trepidation, that there was a leak but it was a crack in the joint where the filling tube meets the tank.

Bottomline: I needed a new tank - $650.

Okay, I admit that was not what I was expecting to hear. I also was not expecting him to say I was driving a Molotov cocktail and that I should not drive it off. They did not have the tank in stock and I'd have to leave my Vanilla PT Cruiser Time Bomb for at least a day. Fine then. I called Ron and he came to pick me up. That was on a Thursday.

The next day, late in the afternoon I received a call from the service tech. I was expecting him to say my repaired car was ready to pick up. But no. Apparently the tank that had been ordered from a central warehouse came in defective. It had been manufactured wrong. Filling tube welded on upside down. They would have to have the other two in stock inspected before having another one delivered to the dealership. Okay, obviously that meant my car would remain there over the weekend.

Fine. I wasn't stranded.

Monday came and nearly passed. Mildly aggravated, I finally called the service tech late in the day. I guess the guy just could not bring himself to call me and give me the bad news. The tanks in stock locally were defective too. The only tank in the entire United States that was available was in a warehouse in Minneapolis. It would be shipped. I asked the dumb question, actually thinking it was rhetorical. So, shipping it overnight? Oh no, it will take three days. Three days.

Fine. I wasn't completely stranded.

Late Thursday morning, I get the call, my car was ready to pick up. Finally. Ron dropped me off and we agreed he'd go on to the restaurant and I'd meet him for lunch. I paid the bill, surprise, it turned out to be more than had been originally estimated. When I left the car, one week prior, it had three quarters of a tank of gas but the empty light was glowing orange when I started up the engine. No one apologized for the delay or the faulty manufacturing of the tank, a phenomenon I have yet to figure out. I mean, think about it. You work on an assembly line welding a part to a part all day. How hard is it to correctly weld the part that has two distinct ends? A mystery never to be solved. Regardless, no one said, boy, sorry for this mix-up and having to keep your car for a week and not expediting the shipping of the tank, by the way, sorry for not giving you all your $3 a gallon gas back. As I slipped into the driver's seat I was mulling these things over, turning up the heat so they could all boil together into one big mad soup. And then just as quickly as anger had bubbled up, I suddenly thought of something else.

I thought how lucky I was to be able to pay a $700 bill for a gas tank. I thought about how lucky I was to be able to meet my husband for lunch. Lucky? Did I say lucky? Shoot no, I thought about how blessed I was to know I could go and fill my tank again. How many people are out there right now struggling just to be able to buy food or pay the electric bill? How many people would be completely, totally stranded and unable to have the repair done, perhaps on the only transportation available to them? I was so humbled and even ashamed of myself for giving the smallest amount of time or brain space to petty arrogant thoughts. How dare I? I thought as I pulled away from the dealership. Thank You, Lord.

I recently read a quote that hit me smack between the eyes that got me thinking about this whole thing and neatly summed it up for me:

If money would solve your problem, you don't really have a problem.

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