Saturday, March 2, 2013

Fixing the problem or just cleaning the car?


My car and I have a dramatic love / hate relationship.

I write this with comfort knowing that my car is unable to access the web, read my blog, and never speak to me again. It is currently in a stage of it's life where it is trying to decide if it should leave us or stay with us. I need it to stay, but I know deep down in the heart of its 6 cylinder engine that it wants to leave.

How do I know this?

The little signs it gives off. You know, the doors that suddenly decide to lock and unlock, the widows that refuse to go down, the lights that sprinkle the dash like twinkling Christmas lights and the noises it makes from time to time. The smells it emits as it coughs to a start and rattles to a stop. It wants to go to that place where all good cars go, yet we coax it with love and affection to stay.

It has been a very good car for us, but it is nearing the end. This is where the hate part comes in. 

I know very little about cars. I know that matchbox and Mattel make them. That is about it.
I also know that my family does not realize the full extent of my knowledge of cars is where to find them in the toy aisle.

When the car acts up there is a routine that I go through. It is a pattern of which I am ashamed to admit I practice.

When the car breaks down I open the hood and I stare. Yep! That's it. I stare.

Staring at the mass of hoses and bolts under the hood helps me feel like I am solving the problem. We both know it does not, but it helps me feel as though I am doing something to fix the situation as well as prevent further situations from taking place. This is crazy right?

Inevitably as I stare at a mess that I do not understand, I will take a rag and begin wiping things down under the hood. This is a step beyond staring and this also does nothing other than make me feel as though I am fixing the problem.

So I stare.

I stare and I clean.

The car remains silent. It has been stared at, and wiped down, but it still remains unfixed.

The car will remain this way as long as I remain in the pattern of staring and wiping down radiator coolant containers and air filters.

The problem is only fixed when I call someone who knows about my car.

The mechanic could not only tell me how to fix the car, but he could tell me"


Want a different result? Change your system of behavior.

How do you respond to the breakdowns in life? How do you handle the relationships that just sputter, cough and then stop? How do you handle the times when life just stops?

Here is what THE mechanic says:

"Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.
In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths." ~Proverbs 3:5-6 
Acknowledge here means to search for, to discover.

In everything I do, in everyone I meet and in everywhere I go I am to search for God.

This morning, before the car acts up let me show you something that THE mechanic says from life's Chilton manual.

"My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, O LORD; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up." ~Psalms 5:3

I love this! In my Bible I wrote this beside the passage we just read.


Before the car acts up I want to change the system of behavior.

I want to do more than just stare at the mess of what I do not understand.

I want to do more than just try to surface clean the situation.

I want the car to run like it was intended to!

Climbing with you,


  1. I can understand the message of your story, Dan. Sometimes, things won’t go according to your plan if you just stare at it and don’t know how execute your course of action. Nothing would happen if we just stand on the corner and do nothing. It’s good to hear that you learned something inspirational from your mechanic.


  2. “I need it to stay, but I know deep down… that it wants to leave.” — I think your car just needs a break; it can get tired sometimes. This must be the system behavior that your mechanic was trying to tell you. Sometimes, cleaning isn't enough to loosen up the stress the car got after a long drive. Cars also need to take time to relax. :)

    Cayla Maggio