Back in January some friends offered me the use of their cabin near Alexandria for a few days of R & R. Given everything that has gone on this past year, I jumped at the chance to spend some time by myself. And so, I rearranged a couple of meetings, let people know where I was going, and headed to Alexandria. As I was driving to Alexandria, I found my anticipation growing with each mile. Unfortunately, just past St. Cloud my car suddenly lost power. Fortunately, I was right at an exit ramp so I coasted up the ramp and pulled over to the side of the road.
Now I don’t know much about cars, but I suspected that losing power was not a good sign. I called AAA and they said a tow truck would be there within an hour. I told them I wasn’t going any where. And fortunately, while I didn’t have power, the engine was still running, so I was able to wait in a warm car while I used my phone to check the internet for a dealership in St. Cloud to which my car could be towed. When I found one, I called and told them my tale of woe. The woman I talked with said that it was probably the transmission, but they would need to check it out to be sure.
When the tow truck arrived, the driver informed me that a tow to the dealership was a little further than what AAA would pay for, and I would have to pay the difference. I thought to myself: “This is going to be expensive.” When I asked what he thought it would cost, he replied: “About 4 dollars.” (Actually it ended up being $4.30.) I told him I thought I could handle that.
When we got to the dealership, I related my tale of driving to Alexandria and suddenly losing power. The woman at the customer service desk reiterated that it was probably the transmission and then said that since it was 4:00 pm, they wouldn’t be able to look at my car until the morning. I asked if they had a car I could rent, and she said: “No, but we can give you a loaner.” The loaner turned out to be the same model as mine, but seven years newer. (My car is ten years old.) I transferred things from my car to the loaner and two hours later was back on the road to Alexandria.
With the assistance of Siri, I found my way to my friends’ cabin with no further trouble. As I settled in front of the fireplace to pray evening prayer, I reflected on my day. Certainly having my transmission go out was going to be expensive, but as I prayed I realized that there were many blessings in the experience. When it happened I was near an exit ramp and not somewhere out in hinterland, without cell phone reception. The engine kept running, so I was able to wait in a warm car. The tow into town only cost me $4.00. I got a free loaner car. And I got to my destination only two hours later than I had planned.
Now, certainly not every bad experience comes with blessings, but as I reflected on this particular experience, it struck me that it was a good lesson for me that in all the experiences of my life (both good and bad), I need to look for the blessings; rather than just whine and complain when things don’t go as I want them to.
Today as we celebrate the great Feast of Easter, let us be mindful of all the many blessings we enjoy in our lives. And let us be particularly mindful of the blessing of eternal life offered to us in the resurrection of Jesus Christ. And let us pray that we might always remember that even in the bad things that sometimes happen, God is with us and always offering us God’s good grace, and never ceasing to enfold us in God’s love—in ways large and small. Sometimes it can cost as little as $4.00 to be reminded of this.