My Car Gave Me The Night Off…

That thought occurred to me on Wednesday night as I sat on the bench in front of the Fairlawn National Tire & Battery, drinking my favorite green drink and reading an Oprah magazine without a care in the world.
 
It took me awhile to get that; when I did, it hit me like a brick in the head.
 
It’s been a very busy summer. September has flown by like a speeding train and I have a 10-day project coming up that starts on Saturday. For the past two weeks, I’ve been pretty industrious, doing everything possible to clear up any loose ends. I don’t want anything to slip through the cracks while my attention is elsewhere.
 
After three packed days this week, I was sitting in the parking lot of The Mustard Seed in Fairlawn late Wednesday afternoon. Having “The Seed” as our local grocery store & date-night hang-out for over 6 years is one of my favorite bonuses of living in Akron.
 
I’d been sitting in my parked car for over an hour. The sky was a brilliant shade of blue and the temperature was perfect for fall. I was loving life after a very illuminating call with my coach, Lenora Edwards, and a very gratifying telephone conference with one of my favorite clients. As I looked around and surveyed the peace and beauty of my surroundings, I felt  powerfully present and exceptionally grateful for all of the delight in my life.
 
After soaking up those feelings with a deep sigh of appreciation, I got ready to head into The Seed for my groceries. As I started to get out of the car, I noticed that the parking space in front of me was empty. What another great opportunity! I would start the car again and move it forward; when I came out with my groceries, I’d just head out instead of back out.
 
As I turned the key in the ignition, it felt like it was moving through pudding. To make matters worse, the car made no sound.
 
All the beauty of the day that had been with me moments before faded a little.  This was so unexpected! I’d just driven in from an appointment in Kent and the car seemed fine. It fired up easily for me as I left my parking space and headed for Akron and this parking lot.
 
I had to take a deep slow breath and remind myself that this was truly a wonderful thing. (If I’m going to teach the belief that every obstacle brings a gift, I figure I have to be ready to be handed the opportunity to use it…)
 
After another deep slow breath, it hit me.
 
Here I was,  safe in the parking lot of one of my favorite places in Akron. It was a beautiful day and I’m a member of AAA. I have friends right up the street at the Fairlawn NTB, where I’ve been taking my car for almost a year. With a few quick phone calls I got the car handled and let Chuck know I wouldn’t make it home for supper, since his car was in the shop for a major tune-up that day.
 
Inconvenient? Yes.
 
Earth-shattering? No.
 
Worse things have happened to me ~ and to lots of other people. The thing that helped me to remain cavalier about the whole thing was my willingness to expand my perspective. Three things helped me do that:
 
1. I remembered Nick Vujicic, the man who was born in Melbourne Australia in 1982 with no arms and no legs who now travels the globe inspiring people with the story his transformation from “No Limbs to No Limits.” Nothing in life has stopped him; he’s just announced his engagement to his long-time, beautiful girlfriend, Kanae. I often take my two perfect arms and two perfect legs for granted; because of them, I had no trouble driving all the way from Kent to bring this this car safely into the parking lot. I had no trouble dialing the people who would help me to drive it away. I looked down at my limbs and knew how easy this was going to be.
 
2. The belief that I bring about what I think about. When I considered how I wanted to end this day, it was easy:  it was going to be a whole lot more fun to be deeply grateful for the twist of fate that allowed my battery to get me here safely from Kent before giving up its ghost. Fuming over my dead battery was only going to make it worse – and the battery would still be dead.
 
3. The memory of a movie I saw on Netflix last weekend: The Age of Stupid. I remembered the part of the movie in which people in a ravaged part of Nigeria had no food and no clean water. They were living in the jungle to escape some soldiers; their friends and family members were either dead from the soldiers or from typhus from the spoiled water. When I thought about my problem with that wider perspective, it was clear that I was merely inconvenienced. In a matter of hours, my  problem would be forgotten.
 
As I sat outside the NTB watching the day turn from dusk to dark, I remembered all that I’ve written in this blog about our need for rest and how much we skip it in favor of being industrious. I realized that industrious is perfect for batteries; rest is what humans need to be at their best.
 
It tickled me to think  of my car as a benevolent entity that had my best interests in mind…so it gave me this night off.
 
I promised myself to take more of them.

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