Saturday, April 25, 2009

once's a matter of perspective...

I had fun plans for today. Sleep in a bit. Meet a friend of mine to go watch her son's baseball game. Pre-birthday dinner with friends. A good day.

But, well, it didn't really go that way.

I did get to sleep in a bit. That went as planned, but then it kind of unraveled after that. I got in my car and was driving through our city to head to the ball game, and just as I was turning left in an intersection, my power steering went out. I wasn't sure WHAT was going on; I just knew that all of a sudden, my Pathfinder was incredibly difficult to steer. Fortunately, I was able to wrestle it through the intersection and over to the side of the street, where there JUST HAPPENED to be one last parking space on the end into which I could slide the car.

I called my mechanic, told him what happened, and he told me they'd check it out if I brought it in. I called a friend of mine and asked if he could give me a ride home from the mechanic's if I needed one. He did one better and said he'd come meet me and escort me there just in case I had trouble on the way. While I waited for him to arrive, I pulled out my owner's manual, popped open the hood, and began to I knew what I was doing.

The steering fluid level looked fine. Then I noticed that one of the drive belts was off...and upon closer inspection, that TWO of the three drive belts were off! One was just completely missing! So, I called the mechanic again, told him my discovery, and confirmed it was safe for me to drive the car when it was missing two drive belts. Consulting my owner's manual, I explained to him which two were missing, and he told me I had remaining THE ONE belt that was crucial for me to drive it with! He told me I could drive it in as long as I could handle the car without the power steering... of COURSE I can!!

My friend showed up and very kindly offered to trade cars and drive mine, so I wouldn't have to wrestle with it. I gratefully accepted his offer, and we drove to the shop. Being Saturday mid-morning, the shop was extremely busy, but they said they would squeeze me in, and my friend left me for the "short" wait. I agreed to go for a little walk to the near-by coffee shop while they looked at my car; the mechanic said he would call me when they knew what they would need to do. So, off I went.

When I had walked the two blocks to the coffee shop, I discovered there was a car show going on there in the little beach town of Seal Beach. It looked like almost everyone in town had turned out and was walking the streets-- looking at the old cars, listening to music being played at several places on the street, eating food from some of the stands, enjoying the sun and just being out with everyone else. A veritable mid-day street party!

I joined the crowd, wandered the streets, browsed in some of the stores, spent an hour in one antique store looking at every little thing and making friends with the owners, bought a bratwurst from the Lions Club table... and generally killed time for two hours while waiting for the mechanic to call me. When he did call me, he told me there was a bit more extensive work to do but he had the parts and could do it in about an hour. I gave him the go-ahead, and he said he'd call me again when he was done with it.

So, I wandered the streets some more, listened to some music, went back to the antique store and chatted with the owners a bit more, and then, after an hour, headed back to the part of the street nearest the mechanic shop. I found an unoccupied bench right at the end of the street where the old cars were lined up. I pulled out my book to read and had only gotten about two pages into it when an older couple asked if they could share my bench. I scooched over and let them sit with me.

The couple appeared friendly, so, instead of going back to my book, I started up a conversation with them, and soon we were chatting like old friends. A friend of theirs (the owner of the 1940 cherry red delivery sedan parked right next to us!) came over after awhile to join us, and before I knew it, another hour had passed.

We suddenly realized it was the end of the car show, as all of the cars were starting to line up and drive away-- right in front of us! It was neatest thing! We had the best seat in the house because all of the cars in the show had to drive right past us! It was like having a seat in the front row on Main Street Disneyland for one of the parades! And I had the best narrators because both of the gentlemen chatting with me knew all the old cars, and they proceeded to announce the make, model, and year of each car as it drove by our front row bench! We had so much fun oohing and ahhing together!

My mechanic finally called me when it was almost over and told me my car was ready. I told him I'd be there in a bit. And, I proceeded to finish watching the car parade with my new friends. It ended after another ten minutes or so; we said our good-byes and agreed to watch for each other at that bench at next year's car show--same time, same place. And I went and picked up my car.

Now, I know that was a long story, and I apologize for the lengthy telling of my tale. I commend you for making it through the whole thing (or for at least skimming it, if you did!). I tell you this story because, to me, this was another one of those "how you look at it" moments...

No, my day did not in any way go the way I planned. I had planned to see my friend's son play ball. I did not plan to have my car break down. I did not plan to spend tightly-budgeted money on car repairs I was not expecting. I did not plan to spend four and a half hours waiting for my car to be fixed.

But, when it was all done... I realized I had a really good day! I had fun! And it really was mostly because I chose to accept it for what it was, to make the best of it... and to enjoy it for what it was. And when my dinner friends said to me "I'm sorry you had to wait all day for your car to be fixed. What a drag," I heard myself say, "That's ok. I had a great day!" (and that is really not me!!)

I am grateful for a great day, even though almost none of it was what I had planned! And, I am grateful for a loving Father Who made it so...

Thank You, God, for...
  • my car breaking down before I was very far from home/mechanic
  • getting me through the intersection and that it wasn't busy
  • the last parking space right where I needed it
  • the one remaining drive belt being the very one I had to have!
  • my cell phone
  • my friend being willing and able to come help me
  • us getting my car safely to the shop
  • the mechanic being available to work on my car
  • the shop being so close to a nice little town
  • the car show and street fair being today
  • the delightful people at the antique store
  • the charming jeweler I talked with at his store
  • the beautiful sunny day today!
  • an empty bench in the perfect spot
  • the wonderful couple I spent time with
  • the awesome old car parade!!
  • new friends, if only for an afternoon
  • enough money to pay for my car repairs
  • the ability to look at a "messed-up" day and see it for the enjoyable day it really was!
  • the pre-birthday dinner with my friends
  • a great day.
  • perspective.

(And, though I saw no "hearts" today, I clearly heard my Father speak His love for me!)

For these, I am truly grateful! : )


  1. way to have the most positive attitude....this really warmed my heart and made me think about all the things that I should be thankful about.

  2. Don't you love days like that. Blessed by God and happening, in spite of our plans, exactly how He had planned! :) "A (wo)man makes plans, but the Lord directs his (her) path." I love the blessings. You have great eyes to see them!

  3. you just cheer me up, I need to work yesterday (sunday) until 8 o'clock. But you just remind me that there is tons of things we can give thanks to God. Just remember to recount my blessing.

  4. Oh, you had a great day gal. And my, aren't you very smart for being able to assess the condition of your car, I don't think I would able to do any wee bit! =P

    Yes dear, it's a matter of perspective and I'm glad that the day worked for you. I've enjoyed reading your story, and maybe the clouds here may clear soon. And among those clouds, blessings must be lying around too.

    Bless you sister. =)

  5. Yes ma'am from the moment I read the part about a parking space you could get into with no drive control - I figured we were on an adventure. Wonderful the Lord gave you a right heart about it - there was some interaction or lesson you had which was important in HIS plans. Great story and glad your car is repaired now. For some reason your comments thing is rebelling against my real name - this is Linda Sue from Buhlaland!

  6. I love getting a little perspective. Thanks!

  7. Don't apologize for the length of your story. I love a good story, with all the details leading up to the reason for your inspiration.

    I've had days like yours before . . . and they usually go down in my book as the most memorable ones because the messages those days carry are so gentle yet so very transforming.

    God bless~


I'm so glad you've stopped by! I love hearing from you and can't wait to read your comments! Let me know what's on your mind and your heart today...