Monday, August 17, 2009
Perspective on Life
My veggie oil-powered Jetta died last week. Just wouldn't start. I've been very proud of that car and thrilled that I could drive to and from shows all over the Midwest and never pay for fuel. Perhaps my pride contributed to its demise.
The verdict is that it will cost about $2,000 to get it running again. That's after I put $2,500 into it last fall for a new tranny, a $1,000 a year earlier for a new timing belt, and about another $1,500 in various other ailments. Bottom line: I'm confident the universe will provide the money to fix it, but is it worth it? I could really use that money for new carpet in the basement, a real vacation, and Lyda's college fund.
This is a classic example of what my friend Kate would call a "Middle Class Drama." It goes like this:
If I were poor, I would have no car problems because I wouldn't have a car at all. And I would only dream of owning two. And if I were super "wealthy", also no car problems. I surely would own something other than a "clunker" or would simply buy a new one.
So, here I am in the middle. Blessed to have the means to own two cars (actually one, now, since the Jetta doesn't run -- which, oddly enough, makes it ineligible for "cash for clunkers.") And hog-tied because it'll take some creativity to pay to fix it.
While I'm wracking my brain trying to devise a solution and feeling sorry for myself and fretting whether or not I'll ever be able to afford college for my girls, life sends me a harsh and shocking reminder of my blessed existence.
Last Friday my former classmate Tom Murphy was killed instantly by a falling boulder that smashed through his windshield while he was driving home from a mountain vacation with his family. Bam -- just like that. No signs. No warnings. Nothing he could have done to avoid it. His wife Jenny was able to prevent further tragedy by grabbing the wheel with one hand and applying the brakes with the other to bring the car to a stop. I can only imagine the utter shock and horror.
Tom brought such great joy and laughter to this world. His unexpected death reminds me to pray for peace and healing for his family and to approach life like he did.
All of a sudden my car drama doesn't seem so serious. In fact, cars and other things of this world now seem rather trivial. I'm blessed beyond belief with a healthy, beautiful family, and a fulfilling career. I'm hugging my wife a bit tighter today and loving on my girls a bit more enthusiastically.
Oh, and I'm riding my bike to fetch groceries more often -- with a smile.