Those of you who have been with us for a while know that we had all sorts of frustrating, time consuming, and costly vehicle problems on our Christmas trip to California. Upon return to Whitehorse we had further trouble with our Caravan. And just when we were heading out on our trip to Calgary, the transmission broke again. We had the van towed to Whitehorse and took the Toyota on the trip. As if that wasn’t annoying enough, the very next night we found out that the transmission on the Suburban had also failed (turned out to be a crack in the housing).
Usually I could be fairly calm about most things, but I can’t say I was overjoyed about having two vehicles dead in Whitehorse. What was supposed to be a relaxing trip started off with a good measure of stress.
While I was “relaxing” in our motel room (grumbling to my wife and talking to God about our situation) it occurred to me that vehicular breakdowns are not the end of the world. Yes, they can be very costly, inconvenient, and very frustrating, but in the end, a car breaking down is more of a nuisance than it is a tragedy.
I’ve come to conclude that we are masters at getting frustrated. We get frustrated over broken vehicles, airport delays, vegetable gardens damaged by frost, a bad haircut, missing the bus, losing a wallet, a crack on the windshield, web pages that take too long to load, missing a hunting trip, and my favorite (which I completely made up, so please don’t think I’m pointing fingers) - there’s only room for one car in my garage. Such tragedies!
We elevate each of these situations to a major crisis, we lose sleep, we complain to our neighbours, we worry and get upset, we get all worked up, when in reality, most of these situations are nothing more than an inconvenience, even if they are costly ones.
The truth of the matter is that broken vehicles are much easier to deal with than broken lives. The parent who has the police show up at their door late at night with news that their intoxicated child had injured a pedestrian, or the woman who finds out they or their loved one has a terminal illness and has only weeks to live, or the parent who sees their child being addicted to drugs, or the man or woman who is going through divorce proceedings, or the child who is used and abused by a relative. Any one of these people would gladly exchange the cost of a vehicle repair to repair a broken or damaged life, but they can’t. They would look at our inconveniences and wonder why we are so worked up about something so temporary, so insignificant.
I know it’s never good to trivialize someone else’s frustration but it seems that we get overly anxious about things that are really nothing more than nuisances (at least, I certainly can). I wonder why that is. Can it be because we are spoiled adults? Can it be because we have so much and it is never enough? We are so used to having things our way, we have the mind set that we have the right to do anything and have anything when we want and the way we want; so much so that when something doesn’t go the way we like, when something does go wrong, we consider it such a major crisis.
Jesus said, “Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?”