19. Jammingly


Waiting this morning in my car while cold rain fell. I listened to the radio and talked on the phone with my buddy Clark, who deserves a thousand posts. His grandson is getting better every year and what a gift it is to Granpa Clark. Things did not start as nicely as they are now. It was a question of discipline and the almost too late wrestling match of authority. Clark was ready, “Just give me a week with him and I will straighten him out.” That would have been a week with a grizzly bear, okay. Anyone will behave when a madman breaks out the firearms and begins ranting and raging. Not that Clark would have started with firearms, but they would have been an option at some juncture. In any event # 1 grandson grew and adapted in socially acceptable ways. Hallelujah! Another miracle in my agnostic friend’s life. He’s had many miracles rain down on him in the last third of his life; however, the horrors of the first two thirds of his life have nearly obliterated these sacred late life gifts. They are like drops of deeply hued pigment poured into ten gallons of white paint. They are making a difference but there is an ocean sized desert to redeem, reclaim, and colorize.

We talked for 20 minutes or so, mostly him talking and me listening, which is how it usually goes, but I’m not complaining. He is a whirlwind of thoughts and feelings and insights. I did not realize that I had left my running lights on; nor did I realize that my battery is as old as my car– 12 years. As the cold increased, I decided to run the engine and blow some heat into my little CRV cabin. “Wah,wah, whoa, uh,uh, uh.” Oh, no. It’s cold and rainy. I’m waiting for my college daughter to finish an interview at a school that’s 5 miles from my house and 8 miles from my trusty mechanic. I shut down my lights, the radio, and hoped that my battery would make one last start for me. I shared none of this with Clark, who lives 20 plus miles away. He would have offered to jump start me, but that would have taken two hours out of his day.

Image result for worried faces picturesI got out of my car after I said good bye. I popped the hood and found my battery. I’d never noticed it before. Hondas are just so reliable and I don’t do any mechanical work beyond checking my oil. I not only found the battery, but I could see corrosion all around the positive pole and cable. I shook the cable and blew off some of the cakelike corrosion. I had a moment of prayer, and what do you know? My car started. What a relief. I still called my mechanic to have my battery replaced. He confirmed that it was the original battery, “I just replaced a 13 year old battery. That’s the record for me.” Suddenly I felt like I was in the Honda battery hall of fame, albeit in second place. I’m used to three year batteries, I guess. Somehow my little inconvenience turned into a good thing. Gratitude came over me slowly. It’s a good thing, a very good thing to shift your perspective and be grateful that you have a car, enough money for a new battery, a trusted mechanic, a friend over the mountain, a hard working daughter who rarely complains, a job that you love doing. And a blog, of course, where I can spew all of this mundanity.

I was not jammed up after all. Everything worked through as it should. The little wisp of anxiety that started to rise up, evaporated in an instant. I find this to be the case much more often in my older days. How is it with you, Blogee? Are things working through in your life? If so, why? If not, what do you think is jamming you? Do you have a dead battery issue or a long term relational issue like my buddy Clark? I  put problems in two camps– solvable and unsolvable. Most problems are solvable. The relational issues are harder to get hold of, like a slippery eel. A lot lighter touch and flex are needed to hold a relational issue. People cannot be switched out like batteries, even if they are crazy brothers with no place to go.

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