Giving thanks isn’t “normal”

Joy carries a soapbox in her back pocket that she frequently pulls out, unfolds and assembles. And she’s fast, let me tell you!  She will toss it to the floor in any situation and promptly place herself on top, turning herself strategically in my direction … in hopes of having her point hit home so that I will jump ship from my position and embrace hers.

Her most recent soapbox oration began with an enthusiastic, “MOM! It isn’t “normal” to clap and cheer when your gauges decide to work again!!  Most people E.X.P.E.C.T the gauges on their dash to tell them the speed of their car and how much gas they have. In fact, they expect them to start working when you crank the car!” I laugh at her comedic new approach and appreciate that she is a persistent child … and I remind her that our gauges have worked for a few months AND we are not buying a new vehicle right now.

My dear van had temperamental gauges for at least four or five years.   I would drive without gauges as long as nine months … and them *BAM!*  I would be on I-20 going 65 and the gauges would come on, the doors would auto lock and I would be able to see how much gas I had. I might have this luxury for three weeks …. or maybe just for the rest of this particular drive. Upon cranking again, the gauges were likely defunct.

Back in the fall, I thought Celia might just fall apart on me.  I felt like I was living in a cartoon world, driving along with springs springing, doors falling off and tires rolling off my vehicle and into the ditches. In the past six months, I’ve spent over three thousand dollars on repairs and upkeep. I have done everything from replacing two tires to replacing a fuel pump, water pump & radiator. The list is long. Included in this list, is the repair of an instrument cluster … the brain of (among other things) the gauges.

It’s been a tough call.  I’d LOVE to buy another vehicle. I could have almost half paid for a new-to-me used vehicle with this 3,000. But, I’m an unemployed, single student. I’m not a real likely candidate for a car loan, ya know?

Thomas at Butler Automotive has been my hero. Their customer service is outstanding.  I don’t have to sheepishly ask if I can puhhllleeez get a ride back home.  Thomas OFFERs it to me as we finish up our conversation. How cool is that?

I have finally paid off my repairs. Just before a recent trip to the mountains, my windshield wiper motor went out, the motor on my drivers side window died and my transmission began to protest. I backed out of my driveway, put my van into forward gear … and didn’t move. Oh, how my heart sank.

Praise God, out of nowhere, I was given the gift of a new windshield wiper motor. In talking to the shop, we were able to keep the transmission moving for now. But …. the window motor …… I’m counting this breakdown as a gift.

“Mom, it isn’t “normal” to have to duct tape your window UP so it won’t SLIDE down while you are driving.”

And she’s right.

But, as I drove up to Dunkin Donuts drive-thru the other day, I thought, “This is just T.O.O awkward ….. T.O.O much trouble” … and I kept going.

And it hit me! This is a gift!!! My broken, driver’s side window motor is a precious, sweet gift to me from my Savior …. the one who wants to save me … even from myself!!

I just had to praise God and thank Him … knowing that I wouldn’t go through a drive-thru as often was probably a really good thing. It’s good for my health (not eating fast food) and it’s good for my wallet (saving that extra money).

So, Joy is still pushing to buy a new vehicle,
once again I’m praising God.
Thanking Him for the gift of a window that is – at least temporarily – sealed shut
so that I am no longer (as) tempted to run through a drive-thru.
And for black duct tape … it even matches the trim on my van!!

The duct tape probably embarrasses Joy just a bit.  But, to be honest, I can only think of one particular person that I absolutely would not want to see my repair work: Steve Jobs. I’m thinking that he probably wouldn’t appreciate my window sealant placement.  I can say that I tried to move my sticker ….. to another WINDOW so Apple wouldn’t even been associated with such a tacky mess … but that proud little emblem is pretty darn sticky. It was freezing the day I had to seal the window shut.  I just had to let it go. I’m really sorry, Mr. Jobs.  I’ll try to get it fixed soon and uncover your sticker.

I’d like to add  to my list of 1,000 gifts: Ann Voskamp's Inspiration of counting the gifts in our lives ... the everyday and extraordinary

365. a van window that stays closed
366. gauges that I use every time I drive
367. black duct tape
368. a transmission that continues to function – with a little tlc
369. Thomas & the crew at Butler Automotive
370. a daughter with a portable soapbox
371.  a daughter whose spirit of persistence is fierce and fiery


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