Saturday, September 15, 2007

Problems or Opportunities

My son in-law's uncle came to visit him last week and over lunch with them I mentioned my latest car woes. Trying to empathize with me, he said jokingly, "I am going to get a horse and get rid of my truck, because I too, am tired of car repairs". I started to like the horse idea but very quickly I realized that as long as we are breathing, there will always be costs to pay. Horses will break down too, then you have to make a choice; horsemeat stew or vet bill.

I drive an old Mercury Mystique that I bought three and a half years ago. I paid cash for it because I don't want a monthly bill. The car is clean and runs well until one day it stopped cold in the middle of the road and my mechanic changed the timing belt. It has not been the same since. I got very frustrated and even angry, but I thought to myself that at least it is not my body that got messed up. I have taken it to 3 different mechanics including my favorite ones from Ghana. None could figure out why it jerks, like it is choking.

I received all kinds of opinions and advice, but they are just that. In all of these, I have to thank God that I have friends who are willing to help me. There's Don who got dirty crawling on the ground trying to change my tire. Actually his efforts were spent mostly on trying to figure out how to operate his industrial jack ( he just bought one and wanted to show it off) he did not know how to lower it after you raise the car. I have not operated one myself, but I know it should not be that hard. And he calls me everyday checking on my car. Then there's Billy, he is recovering from a liver cancer surgery and yet happily and willingly took the time to go with me to different garages. And after I casually mentioned to him that I need a better paying job to afford a better car, went on to get me an interview for a job with one of his friends in the electronics industry. Another friend offered a weekend get away to temporarily forget my car woes.

There are days when I could not see the light, all I could focus on is the black and empty space. No hope, no relief and things unraveling in my head. But at the end of the day, I stop and see a glimmer of hope. I recall the past of how God has always carried me through. On days when I could not see Him, I could feel His hand. When I could not feel His hand, I know I could trust His heart. And on real dark days that I doubt His heart, I don't worry because even when I am faithless, He remains faithful.

My car problem is not over yet- I don't know what the future holds, but I know Who holds the future. After all, I am in America, a land where "Be all you can be" is not just a military slogan, but a promise of reality to everyone.
I am thankful that I got this car problem, because now, I am forced to scrutinize my spending habits. Am I squandering my time and money? What area of my lifestyle needs to change? What do I need to cut back on in order to be able to save? Money saved is money earned.

At times when I feel sorry for myself for not having a husband or a boyfriend to take care of me, I have to shift gear immediately. Being single carry its' own merit. If I have a boyfriend, I would not have a lot of other male friends who makes me feel special. But on the other hand, if I have a boyfriend, when my car breaks down I only need to make one phone call instead of going down the list. Ah, you just can't have it all.