Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Breakdowns don't have to be nervous

“The most incredible thing about miracles is that they happen.”  -  G. K. Chesterton

“Miracles happen every day.  Change your perception of what a miracle is and you will see them all around you.”  -  Jon Bon Jovi

     So many amazing things happen on the road - if I told all the stories folks would think I am making things up.  I keep a running log of events that exceed the bounds of coincidence for myself, but sometimes one happens that I just feel compelled to share.

     After finishing a five month series in New England, I swung west through Ohio and then headed south from Columbus OH to visit my grandson in Greenville SC.  It was a beautiful Saturday morning in October and I enjoyed the foliage as I headed into the Appalachian Mountains.  

     As I crested a hill heading south on Rt. 75 through the Kentucky traffic came to a dead halt.  I mean completely stopped – and it stretched to the far horizon.  A couple of minutes later steam came pouring out from under my hood.  I pulled into the center median and raised the hood.

     Coolant was gushing out of the thermostat housing – a metal part that bolts to the engine and couples with the upper radiator hose.  I looked at the clock – it was 2:45 on a Saturday and I am in the mountains.  I figured I was stuck there for the weekend - this was a specialty part and this was not a good place for this to happen.

     I quieted myself and then decided to drive back to the last exit – one for a little town called London Kentucky.  The car cooled down, I added a bit of water and talked folks into letting me cut across to the berm.  I then drove the wrong way along the berm and up the entrance ramp.  I pulled into a service station at a little after 3:00.

     I told the fellow at the service station what was wrong, and he agreed with me that the part was something you could only get from a junkyard or a dealership.  There was no dealership for many miles and the junkyard was closed until Monday.  But we called the parts store on the off chance – and guess what.  They had this specialty part.

     With a comment about me having a charmed life, the manager of the station said if I could get to the parts store and back he would put the part on for free.

     The manager of the parts store told me the part had been specially ordered for someone who had not picked it up. Soon I was back at the garage and the men were putting the housing on for me.  They put in several gallons of new antifreeze and topped off all my fluids.  I insisted the manager take a few dollars to get the guys some hamburgers or beer or whatever they wanted.  

     An ambulance driver happened by and said the highway would be backed up at least another hour or so – the mortician had been called to the scene of a fatal accident.  Suddenly my issues didn’t seem all that big.

     The garage closed at 5:00 – I pulled out at 4:57.  They gave me directions on how to cut through some back roads to get to the next highway exit.  I did so, and when I pulled on the highway there were no cars in my lane – they were all still at a standstill behind the accident.

    Now understand this is the mountains – exits are few and far between – in fact it seemed it was at least sixty miles until I saw another town that MIGHT have a parts store.  And yet here I found myself – once again – with a problem that was solved before I even knew I had a problem. 

     I have been operating under the theory that God is on the journey too – that the future is unwritten and he gives us the one next right thing to do as that is the most effective system.  But this incident throws a monkey wrench into that theory.  Stay posted – I am back searching for a new operational model on that whole God thing.  I am sure he is deeply humored with my attempts to figure stuff out.

     See, if I figure it out, then I might just be qualified to be God myself.  But on second thought, being God sounds like an awful lot of work.  Just arranging for auto parts would be a full time job.  Maybe I will just go back to not thinking.

Today, I am grateful.

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It is a great day !!

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