Friday, November 20, 2015

The Holiday Curse: Thanksgiving

As mentioned before, my family has a Holiday Curse.  And Thanksgiving seems to have somehow been particularly cursed in regard to our cars.

Perhaps it's because so many of the cars we have driven have been real turkeys.

On a Thanksgiving weekend in the early 90's, we set out to spend a long weekend with relatives in Bennington, KS.  Leaving after work on Wednesday, we traveled west for over an hour and pulled off at the Noland Road Exit  in Independence, MO - an area renown for its plethora of fast food choices.

At the top of the exit ramp we waited for the light to turn green.  Then I pressed my foot to the accelerator and continued to wait.  And wait.  The car was going nowhere.

With a slight push I was able to pull on through the intersection and coast downhill and into the entrance to a Super 8 and Shoneys.  Which was a fortunate combination, since we wound up spending the next 48 hours in that Super 8 motel and eating at the Shoneys.

The transmission  had gone south on us as we were going west.  Thus began a the mother of all holiday curses, one that lasted through December, through Christmas and on through New Year's Day.  The car was in two different AAMCO shops to have the transmission repaired TWICE, over a total of over 40 days.

The two AAMCO shop owners bickered and fought over who was responsible to do the re-repair after the warrantied initial repair (which took two tries over 10 days) failed miserably during the trip back east to Columbia.  I received an education in the truth about those warranties - the shop is going to lose money on the re-work, which means they have very little motivation to complete the job quickly.

Back in those days, we were a one car family.  That meant I rode the bus to work, my wife took two small children to the store and other errands on the bus, and anything we wanted to do to celebrate the holiday season was only accessible by bus.

Any missional Christ-following blogger worth his salt would have some great stories at this point about the people I met on the bus during those weeks, about the relationships I made with people who are down-and-out enough to be riding the bus during the holidays.

But all I could think about during those weeks was how depressed I was.  How totally out of control my life had become.  How miserable this holiday season was.

I learn slowly.  but I have a patient Teacher.

O Master,
these are the conditions in which people live,
and yes,
in these very conditions my spirit is still alive —
fully recovered with a fresh infusion of life!
It seems it was good for me 
to go through all those troubles.
Throughout them all you held tight to my lifeline.
You never let me tumble over the edge into nothing.
But my sins you let go of,
threw them over your shoulder - 
good riddance!
The dead don't thank you, 
and choirs don't sing praises from the morgue.
Those buried six feet under
don't witness to your faithful ways.
It's the living —
live men,live women —
who thank you, just as I'm doing right now.
Parents give their children full reports on your faithful ways.

Isaiah 38:16 (The Message)

A sign you're growing in grace:  Even when you fail to live up to your calling, you trust in God's patience and learn from your mistakes. #asygig