This has been a difficult summer around here. And although this post isn’t necessarily meant to be funny, it has been a comedy of problems with my car that finally brought me to the brink today.
To be totally transparent about it, Janet hasn’t been driving the past several months, dealing with a severely sprained right ankle and dealing with some other health challenges. So I have had my choice of several cars in the garage – one of them a large sedan that I absolutely love but have had my share of trouble with.
Thankfully, the car is still under warranty and so I have been grateful that I haven’t had to pay for any of the repairs that have occurred. We still have a sedan because it is the most comfortable thing to drive over the road when Janet and I travel. It’s very comfortable and that’s important to Janet with her arthritis.
To be fair, as much as I love the car, in some ways it has been an albatross. I have had trouble with the entertainment center blacking out, the digital dashboard doing some strange things and then there are the little gremlins such as the driver’s seat belt that didn’t work right – it wouldn’t retract. I am the first one to say that a luxury car shouldn’t have these issues – in fact, it’s embarrassing.
At this point, our son has asked me to sell the car, cut my losses and get into something “more reliable.” That makes sense but I just can’t do it… I love the way the car rides – and I guess I am a little hesitant, no, more than a little hesitant, to take a 50% loss on a car that is 3 years old.
To be sure, I have a folder more than an inch thick with all the stuff that has been done to one of my favorite vehicles of all time. Some of the repairs have created other issues. For example, the dealership finally finished replacing a module that had something to do with navigation and entertainment. The software integration caused a delay and it was almost a month before I got my car back.
As is customary, the dealership washed my car, but there was a malfunction in the tunnel and it caused scratches all over the hood, front bumper and mirrors. Yep, it had to be sent to the body shop and that was another three weeks to repaint parts of the car, reseal the finish and I can’t even remember all the other things that had to be put back into showroom condition. Oh, and the bill for the module was almost $10,000. Thankfully, I didn’t pay any of it.
Then, and I won’t bore you with every issue, another module went out (covered under warranty) and in a fluke one day, I noticed a spot of rust on the sunroof when I got home and entered the house. How in the world can that happen with an aluminum body? Well, the sunroof frame is steel…
Go figure, the entire thing had to be replaced – the entire panoramic sunroof. It cost more than the total of the two modules that went bad… and during the last month it has developed a squeak whenever I turn a corner. That brings us to today…
I finally had time to drive to the dealership and let them know of my most recent problem… But I had a little angst about the squeak. I was by myself, a rare thing these days, so I opened the roof, put down the windows and just enjoyed the wind blowing while I cruised down the road. I kept wondering why I couldn’t pinpoint the source of the problem.
So I pulled over, put on the blinkers and tried to figure out where the noise was coming from. It was then that I was caught by surprise. In this world of selfishness, self absorption and instant gratification, a man in a red sport utility vehicle stopped and was concerned about me. He really had an interest in knowing if I was okay, did I want a ride or was there anything I needed. Frankly, I couldn’t believe the compassion and caring that he expressed for me.
In this world, it isn’t easy to put ourselves out for one another. I think we can agree that it is the Christian thing to do, but when the rubber meets the road it isn’t as easy to put into practice. I could’t help but smile at how this short exchange lifted my spirits after the summer we have had. Sometimes, it is the little things… He then flashed me a big “thumbs up” – that I promptly returned. It made my day!
Our verse for tonight is from Galatians. Paul, the author of this great book, tells us in Galatians 5:14, “The entire law is summed up in a single command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Today’s exchange was a wonderful example of this very verse. My encouragement this evening is that we could all take a lesson from those among us who look for opportunities to serve one another. Not only does it feel good to do, it is a wonderful example of how we can move the needle for Christ’s mandate to us. And that’s my prayer – to move the needle! Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…