Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Punctured and Spared

As I rode with Allen to the train station on Friday, the sun rose with such unusual beauty, a navel orange with the top of its sphere smothered in layers of pink and blue-grey.

I reached in my handbag for my phone-camera. Hmm. I searched again. "Uh oh, my phone must still be sitting on the kitchen table." Silently I prayed that God would keep me safe from any car troubles or accident, "since I don't have a way to call for help." Even as I thought the words, I realized my primary functional trust at that moment lay in that phone and the people to whom it connected me rather that God alone, and that's idolatry.* I'm sorry, Lord; have mercy on my unbelief.

The photo opportunity had passed by then anyway, and my thoughts quickly moved on to a rehearsal of the dance steps required for a full day to run smoothly. Walk, shower, vet, doctor,... Several things needed doing Friday (a) by me or (b) sooner than Allen would be able to do them Saturday afternoon (see a). With careful choreography, I could accomplish them efficiently and still have time for the necessary afternoon nap.

Allen pulled into the transit parking lot, and after a quick hug and kiss he was gone and I was in the driver's seat.

As I came around the median in the turn toward home, there it was: a long, narrow, black strip of debris stretched across my lane. There was not time to check mirrors and blind spot for a safe shift to the next lane, so I tried to evade the obstacle within my own lane, even though it just looked like a harmless strip of tire. Allen's ninja reflexes could have handled it easily. As for mine...

Front tires, clear.

Back tires,... Pfffft from the rear passenger side. It sounded suspiciously like my scissors slashing through the air pillows that cushion an online order. But maybe it's just a leak. Not flat flat.

Flappity-flappity-flappity. No, healthy tires do not flap. Pfffft went my carefully arranged choreography for the day.

So many thoughts crowded my mind as I rolled down the hill and steered into the CVS lot:

Well, Lord, You love me enough not to let me off the hook for misplaced trust. What are we going to do now?

Thank You, Lord, for prodding me to delay Allen long enough to exchange pajama pants for yoga pants. And a ball cap. Best decision all day.

Thank You that we have roadside assistance service if I can just get to a phone.

Thank You that even though Allen is on the train headed downtown and can't get back to me my dad is home today and hasn't left for their day trip. (That was the reason Allen had driven to the train to begin with; my dad, his normal carpool, was taking a long weekend and I had to keep our car for my appointment.) Three cheers for Daddy! He's the next best thing to Allen, and he knows how to change a tire. (I might, ahem, possibly know this from prior experience.)

Before I entered the drugstore to beg the use of their phone, I checked my purse once more. And twice. And three times. Nope, no phone. Sigh.

Giving thanks again for the gift of hats and ponytails and lamenting my yet unwashed face, I walked into the building and greeted the familiar woman by the photo desk. I explained I'd flattened the tire and didn't have my cell phone with me. Could I please...? "Yes," she answered, "yes, of course you can use the phone."

Checking my watch, I dialed the number my parents have had since I was in elementary school. Five rings elapsed. Oops, they must still have been asleep, but they're probably awake by now because of the phone, so I might as well...

Six, seven, eight,... a sleepy Mezzo (my middle sister) answered. No, Dad wasn't up yet. Oh, okay. Normally I would have waited, but I was still trying to get to my doctor on time, so I told her I'd call roadside assistance to put the spare on, but could she ask Mom and Dad if I could borrow the car they weren't using today?

As I stepped her through the plan a second time (I had just waked her up, after all), the employee I'd seen outside as I drove up interrupted me: "Excuse, me, ma'am? Is that all you need, a tire changed? That's easy; I can do that. Just let me finish this and I'll help you out."

Whew. Another explanation to Mezzo with the revised plan, and I'd call her back when I reached home.

Stephen, who turned out to be the store manager, had my tire changed in 15 minutes flat, the time it would have taken my dad to get to me and start the process. Already blogging the experience in my head, I started to ask if I could snap his picture and had even reached for my purse when I remembered: no phone. (Gotta be quick with me.)

Ebony inspecting Stephen's work after the car and I got home

After profuse thanks to Stephen, I drove cautiously home, where I called Allen to bring him up to speed and arranged for my folks to bring their second car by on their way to visit my grandmother. No one, it seems, thought it was a good idea for me to drive our car with the spare on (and no spare in the trunk).

To my amazement, the choreography came off smoothly, with just two steps of the dance rearranged and the nap eliminated. By the end of the day, I was as flat as the tire in the trunk, but my heart was full and singing. Through it all, so many "channels of adoration" opened up, and I tasted in at least a small way that the Lord is good, that my forgetfulness and driving mistakes do not hinder His power to help, that the strength of my connection to Him and not my mobile phone network is my security, and that sometimes His messengers of deliverance wear CVS uniforms and tattoos.

Maybe I should go back to the store and get a photo of Stephen for this post. Now, where's my cell phone?

*This may not have registered immediately except that lately I've been listening to Tim Challies's convicting analysis of the digital explosion's impact on our brains and culture and the Christian response. If you prefer, you can obtain the print  or e-book edition of his book The Next Story here or at your local bookstore.

Monday is gone, but the opportunities for gratitude are not. Last week held so many gracious gifts from my God and Savior. Here are a few:
~His love, mercy, and humor in disciplining me
~Safety and nothing worse than punctured pride, plans, and tire
~Cell phones
~Phone numbers known by heart without a phonebook
~Stephen and CVS
~Choreography coming together
~Stamina for a full week that picked up speed as it progressed
~Allen getting the tire replaced for me
~Only 1 PT appointment last week and
~Dave's decision to release me to an "as needed" basis for therapy. That means he gave me a game plan to continue increasing difficulty on the exercises at home, and I don't need to return to the therapy center unless I plateau or regress. Hallelujah!
~Calling my grandmother towards the end of a lonely day and hearing her say my call made her day
~Good report and kindness from my asthma doctor
~Care packages!!! A real-life care package from my online friend Brandee
Afternoon tea a la Brandee, with Typhoo Decaf in my favorite cup
~Oatmeal cookies and pumpkin bread, yum!
~Morning Bible readings in the Gospels
~Three full inches of rain over the weekend
~Muddy paws
~Leisurely lunch visit with my parents yesterday
~Return of the monarchs
~New feathered friends at the feeder
~Sleeping until almost 8 on a weekday morning, due to an unusual work schedule for A. this week
(From the gratitude list, #1858-1879)

linking with Ann, Laura, and Jen today:


  1. I was just getting ready to post a comment when Charleigh unplugged me. :( But I'm so thankful you didn't have an accident! And how sweet of you to include me on the list...!

  2. So glad you are safe and sound, with a little more trust in God blooming in your heart. Even when our days get rearranged, we can find the ways that He blesses us abundantly!

  3. Ironically, I worried about you last night. I wondered why I hadn't seen a post and hoped everything was alright. THEN, I prayed. Similar to the forgotten phone. . . Thankful for God's provision for you! Thankful for your rain! Thankful for Brandee's perfect care package for you! Thankful all is well and God cares for us always. Blessings.

  4. @Brandee Shafer Me, too. You're the sweet one, but you're welcome anyway.

  5. @Jen Thank you for your kind words. Yes, He blesses abundantly, even when the rearranging is partly our own doing!

  6. @Amy I'm sorry to have caused you concern, but thank you for the affection behind it. (I worried y'all might worry. I nearly logged on just for the gratitude list part so you'd know all was well, but then a dose of reality showed me I was thinking far too highly of myself. Grin.)

    As you say, all is well and God cares for us always. Blessings to you as well.

  7. I LOVE how He does these things. I also love how you maintained such good faith talk throughout. I'm afraid to say that I don't know if I would have been able to. So now, you've given both me and you a lesson in faith. :). And I love that photo of Ebony's little face peeking in there. :)

  8. happy that your fraught day all came good i the end!

    in some ways, i think, (relatively) minor anxieties and disasters are even more likely to get between us and God than major ones. in terms of one of your earlier posts, relatively minor anxieties and disasters engender whining, rather than lament. also, while major anxieties and disasters lead us to God (where else can we turn?), minor ones often induce us to leave God out of it, and try to sort the problem ourselves. so it's really encouraging to see your trust in and gratitude towards God, in the circumstances you described.

    i'm so glad that, after your exhausting friday, you had a leisurely lunch visit, and a bit of a "lie-in" on a weekday; praying that you'll continue to get enough rest and sleep...

  9. Thank you for the encouragement. It's good to learn new survival/coping mechanisms, but it's so slow others can recognize it faster than the learner. Ebony does like to snoopervise, as my mom would say. Thanks for coming by. Give your pup a scratch behind the ears for me.

  10. Thank you for the prayers and good wishes. We are working on the rest and sleep... both fighting colds this week. At least I can fight from home. A. has still had to go to the office each day.

    That's a good point about minor/major "anxieties and disasters." What's the saying? "If we mind the pennies, the pounds take care of themselves"? Perhaps trust and gratitude operate in similar fashion. Food for thought, anyway.

    Grace and peace to you, friend!


Thank you for sharing your day with me! Your presence here is a gift. *You* are a gift. Right now I am unable to reply to every comment, but please know I read and pray for each and every commenter. Grace and peace to you in Christ.