Plants burned. Some folk put potatoes in their trunks and baked them. Another guy wired a hot dog to his antenna and it roasted. It was a record-breaking heat wave. I took a four-mile walk with a good friend in the 114F temperatures. I felt like the hot dog! My car was not pleased with the heat.
When driving to get my hair cut on Tuesday morning, my car had an odd smell. The thing about car issues is this: it is not a simple thing to identify nor describe what is happening. The smell reminded me of what my previous car smelled like when low on oil. Then, while on the freeway, the check engine light came on. It felt ominous. I got off the freeway, pulled over, and added a quart of oil to the car.
I drove to salon and had a great chat with our daughter while she cut my hair. Afterwards, I drove to a Quik-Mart, picked up two more quarts of oil. Added another one, and checked the oil. It looked plenty full. The light was still on.
The car stopped accelerating efficiently. On the freeway it took six exits to reach 55mph. I decided to stop driving on the freeway for a couple days. My mechanic could look at the car on Thursday.
That night, I saw an email from my CEO. He wrote:
“I am selling my 2005 Acura RL. Great car in great shape. I will list it on Saturday. If you know anyone who may be interested, let me know. Thanks. Randy”
Seemed wildly coincidental.
I described the story of my car to my good friend the next morning. He reminded me that his car was having trouble accelerating too. That car ended burning up on the freeway. Literally. He had pulled off the road and stepped away so was unharmed. The car didn’t make it.
My car was driving so poorly Wednesday, I dropped it off at the mechanic’s place that night and walked the two miles home. As I arrived, my neighbor saw me walking up and said, “Where’s your car?” I told him and he said, “Hey, call me next time. I’d be happy to come give you a ride.” I thanked him and got his number.
I participated in our Thursday morning meetings via zoom. I had a 2 pm appointment in town, but realized to walk to it would take nearly two hours. I thought of my neighbor’s offer. Called and he said, “When do you want me to pick you up?” My neighbor not only gave me a ride, but went to browse at Goodwill while he waited and brought me home again. He ribbed me, laughing, saying my appointment had cost him $38!
My mechanic called to say, “You are going to have to take this to a diesel repair mechanic. It’s beyond me.” Since, I thought my mechanic could do all things well, this staggered me! I spent Thursday afternoon calling around to diesel mechanics. Found one who would look at it on Friday, but because of the holiday, vacations, and his work load would not be able to repair it for a couple weeks. Karen and I dropped it there Thursday night.
Thursday, during our staff meetings, my CEO offered to let me borrow his car to get me through until mine could be repaired. He dropped it off on Friday. “You can drive it as long as you need to,” he said. Such grace.
The new mechanic called Friday and still didn’t know what was wrong with my car as the first scan had not come up with any specific codes. “Except,” he told me, “it had 2.5 quarts too much oil in it!” So, I guess my nose was incorrect that the smell meant low on oil! To think I had added 2 of those quarts on Tuesday!
Over the weekend I officiated at the wedding of dear friends, and had a car to get there.
Even in the simplest of life situations, God goes before. He knows the terrain, the path, the road. He brings people into our lives whose help we need. I see His fingerprints all over this situation still. I don’t know the end of this story, but I know the One who is part of it and walking alongside me. This gives me confidence for the bigger stories as well.