It was mid-morning on a Tuesday when Valerie called to say a red warning light had appeared while she was driving the Lexus – and I was immediately Still Thankful.
No, Val and I were not having a disagreement (and just to be clear, even if we were, I wouldn’t wish bad to happen to her). Trenton has been using that car since he graduated college last year, because Valerie and I have been experimenting, trying to live in Uptown Dallas with just one car. The Lexus was important to our recent wedding festivities the previous weekend in Midlothian, about a half hour southwest of Dallas. They had driven the car on Saturday to the rehearsal, and Trent drove it again the next day to the wedding, as it would be their getaway car that night.
Trenton and Jessica took Monday to finalize packing for their honeymoon to Vancouver, British Columbia. Valerie’s responsibility was to deliver the newlyweds to the airport Tuesday morning then spend the week taking care of Benji, their dog (he’s VERY cute and VERY nice, but I think he has self-esteem issues, so he needs a companion…no, I’m not kidding). She had dropped them off just before the red light came on, so Val called me for instructions. Trent and Jessica live less than ten minutes from the airport, and it just so happens the mechanic we have used for years was also ten minutes away. She left the car at Coppell Tire and was driven back to the apartment where she spent the day with Benji until the car was repaired. Pretty straightforward.
So, why the thankfulness? What if the car had stalled while Trent was driving to the wedding, or while he and Jessica were driving home in the dark that night? It was Sunday and there would be no mechanics available. How about if it had stalled while driving to the airport? It was an international flight requiring them to arrive early in the morning, so they could have missed their flight. How about the inconvenience for Valerie? (Still) Thankfully, her schedule that day consisted primarily of petting Benji, and that wasn’t delayed much.
It reminded me of a time when Trenton was still in elementary school and Valerie drove him in our minivan, on the highway through pouring rain to Children’s Medical Center for his monthly checkup. Turning into the front drive of the hospital, an engine belt broke and the engine locked up, the power steering became totally inoperable, and the car came to an immediate stop, blocking anyone behind them from entering. Valerie, understandably distraught, called me at work to summon a tow truck. After doing so, I said a short prayer of thanks. There could not have been a more ideal place for the car to stall; they were off the highway, driving slowly; both were fine, on time and only steps from the entrance; and blocking the drive got immediate attention from parking valets nearby. Who knows? Maybe the belt should have broken sooner, but God kept it together until the perfect time.
It’s not about the car never breaking down. It’s not about bad things never happening. They do. It’s about your attitude when the bad things happen, and being alert to the many ways you can be Still Thankful.