Monday, December 1, 2008

A Car, a Restroom, and an Attitude

About three weeks ago I had an unusual problem with my '95 Thunderbird. It's a pretty cool car for a grandma--even my teen grandkids think so! I had to make a stop on my way to town that day, (25 minutes from our house) but when I took the key out of the ignition, the car kept running! I tried it several times, but no matter what I did with the key, the car kept doing its own thing. I called my husband, who said to bring it back home. John, who is known for his ability to fix things, met his match with this challenge. He disconnected the battery, but the car kept purring along. It was like the Energizer Bunny on Viagra! Unstoppable!!

I had 3/4 of a tank of gas in it, so I was very thankful John was able to finally do something to make it quit before going through the whole tank while just sitting in our driveway. He's been working on repairing it as he's found time over these past few weeks. (He had to take the steering wheel column apart and find a missing bolt or something--don't ask me to explain it all.)

Today I wait for 40 minutes while he finishes putting in all the bolts before I'm able to leave to do some errands in town. I get a bit frustrated at having to cool my heels while he finishes up, but try to handle it gracefully. He finally gives me the go-ahead and I take off. I have actually managed to smuggle something out of the house right under John's nose to get worked on as a Christmas gift for him. (I can't say what, just in case he reads this.) Halfway to town I notice that my signal lights aren't working. If there's one thing I hate about other drivers it's when they don't signal their intentions. I call John to tell him that he hasn't fixed everything right. He apologizes for not checking that out, then says, "I've taken note of your complaint and I'll fix it this afternoon. Just use hand signals."

But it's cold and looks like rain is imminent. I don't want to use hand signals! I give a curt goodbye and hang up. After all, I need to keep my hand free to stick out the window and make signals! I flop into a bad mood. Even talk loudly to a driver who pulls in front of me and doesn't speed up. I go to the shop where I need to take the gift for John to get fixed, and they're closed on Mondays. But of course! Stop at the Dollar Store and look for Christmas decorations, but because of my mood can't find anything I like. So it's off to Wal-Mart--surely they will rescue me. As I get out of my car and walk across the parking lot I notice I'm about the youngest person around. Oh, no, it's Old People Day! The first business day of the month. Now don't get me wrong; I have nothing against old people. Some of my best friends are old people! I just don't like to shop when every aisle is full of them.

When I get into the store I head straight to the bathroom. Maybe an empty bladder will improve my snotty mood. As I sit there I realize I have a choice to make. I can either dig myself deeper in a hole of discontent, or I can choose to let the Lord change my outlook. I pray and confess my negativity and ask for joy.

Do my circumstances change? No, the toilet won't flush and the soap dispenser doesn't dispense. I grab a shopping cart whose left front wheel roves as much as the eye of a guy on the prowl. The white-haired crowds in the aisles don't part like the Red Sea at my approach. But it's okay. I'm able to smile and interact with the people around me, sharing a bit of the joy God's given me. There's plenty to go around.

3 comments:

Christina Berry said...

Joy to the world! :-) I'm sure you made the CORRECT hand gestures at each turn. Otherwise Miriam would be upset with you.

Robin Johns Grant said...

The car kept running even with the battery disconnected?! I probably would have called in an exorcist.(But then I've read a lot of Stephen King.)

Anonymous said...

I think the attitude is great!! It means I'm not alone in having the "Scrooge" mentality. But like you, my God is bigger than me and helped me with "being ok" when I wanted to be a snot.

Love ya all.

Roger the artful dodger LeSueur