Blessings and Curses

Step 1: Click the play button on the video above.

Step 2: Commence reading this blog post.

I have a story to share…one that will amaze you. I am still quite taken aback myself and I was the one experiencing it all first-hand.

Today started out like every other day. I got the kids ready for vacation Bible school and out the door we went. My husband had just gotten off of work and had called for our morning talk before he headed to bed and I got on with my day. The kids all had their heads buried in books, so the truck was quiet as my husband and I chatted. As we approached our church, my truck started smoking. The RPMs were going hinky and my truck was losing power quickly. The kids immediately started panicking…”What’s wrong with the truck, Mom?”, my daughter asked. Not wanting my husband to overhear the commotion I calmly ended the conversation with him while doing my best just to get the truck to a safe place. By the grace of God I was able to get the truck into the church parking lot…we were all safe! The kids an I piled out of the smoking truck only to discover a huge puddle forming under the passenger side. Immediately I popped the hood and much to my dismay found a horrible mess. It looked familiar, like the time a radiator hose burst in my husband’s truck spewing coolant everywhere.

I told my oldest daughter to get everyone into the church and to their classes; I would take care of the truck. I called my husband back and told him what had happened. I did my best to assess the situation but having a limited knowledge of things mechanical I was really of no help to him. I decided I would do my best to take care of it on my own and let him get some sleep. There was really nothing he could do for me and I could tell our conversation was only making him feel more helpless.

I pulled out my cell phone and wouldn’t you know it…one bar on my battery. Yep, the only thing missing from this story is Jason and a creepy summer camp, right? I head into the church and explain the situation to our CCD director and ask if I could use a phone (trying to save my cell battery). She said “Hold on a minute…” and she came back with a man that I had recognized from church as one of the Knights of Columbus. They put on a mean pancake breakfast…but back to the story. As it turns out, my new friend was a retired mechanic. He used to do airplane maintenance. He took one look at the puddle under the truck and informed me that it wasn’t the radiator after all…it was the transmission. The same transmission that went out on us on Thanksgiving day only 2 years prior. We’ve had it rebuilt twice and now it had failed again.

As I am standing there in the blistering sun trying to figure out where to go from here, my friend Molly came over to see if everything was okay. After explaining the situation to her, she tells me “Well, I’m sticking around here with you in case you need anything. I can go to the bank later.” Talk about a life saver! Meanwhile my mechanic friend found a hose that had slipped off the transmission cooler…thus causing the problems. He put it back on for me, but I needed more transmission fluid before I could drive the truck. Molly kindly took me down the street to the NAPA store for supplies. While I was in the store, Molly called AAMCO to see if they would send someone out to help me because the transmission was still under warranty. In the store, I was greeted by a friendly guy named Forrest. He welcomed me and asked how my day was…I in turn made a face at him and said “Eh, not so good.” After talking with Forrest I found out that: #1 He was an ex-Navy combat soldier #2 He was more than happy to help a spouse of a deployed soldier and #3 I should not under any circumstances drive my truck anywhere. Sigh….

I get back out to the truck and Molly lays out my options. I can have the truck towed, but if they check it and find out the tranny damage is my fault I’m out $55. I decide to go with it and we drive back to the church and call the tow truck. No more than about 20 minutes later he arrives…nice guy, kinda looked like Mr. Clean though. He takes my baby away to the AAMCO store. Now for my next trick: getting 7 kids and myself home from church without a truck. Molly and I, being the wise women we are, put our heads together and come up with a plan. She takes me home, I get my husband’s truck and go back to the church. I will bring 5 kids home…Molly will transport the other two for me and voila, problem solved. We are all back home safely…but now I await the call from the truck guys. All I can think about is how much money I’m going to have to pull out of my butt for this one. Sigh….again….

The truck guy calls…and apologizes! “We’re so sorry for your inconvenience, m’am. Seems you’ve lost 7 quarts of transmission fluid and once we checked out the transmission you no longer have a third gear. We’re going to need to pull the entire transmission out and rebuild it again. The good news is everything is under warranty…you won’t have to pay a penny. The bad news is I won’t have it ready for you until Monday…Tuesday at the latest.” I was speechless. Was he serious? Did I hear him correctly? Did he really say “you won’t have to pay a penny?” He can keep the truck for a week if I don’t have to pay $4,000 for a new transmission! Needless to say, I was overjoyed…and we’ll be staying close to home this weekend.

Why did I feel the need to share this story? Because this is a perfect example of the old saying “a blessing and a curse”. The way this entire thing played out was unbelievable. My truck didn’t break down on I-95, it broke down right in front of the church. I was able to get it into the parking lot. There just happened to be a retired mechanic at the church that day to help me. My good friend Molly just happened to decide to put off running her errands to generously help out a friend in need. The tow truck just happened to be not so far away…who has ever heard of a tow truck showing up within 20 minutes…ever? All of the repairs are covered under our warranty. And I got to meet Forrest, who’s knowledge and expertise kept me from driving my truck and further damaging my transmission.

Everything, and I mean absolutely everything happens for a reason. Yes, my truck is broken. Yes, I was scared and majorly inconvenienced…and then had to inconvenience others in order to get help BUT today I was blessed by the kindness of others. Our CCD director Susan, my new retired mechanic friend, Molly (whom I got to know a lot better over fun stories and giggles along the way! What a great gal!), Forrest the NAPA guy, Mr. Clean the tow truck guy, Lenny from AAMCO…all of these people went above and beyond to help me today when each and every one of them could have chosen otherwise. Each one of them was given the opportunity today to make a difference in someone’s life…to step up and answer the call to help others in their time of need…to “do unto others as you would have them do unto you”…and I think God is proud of each and every one of them.

I told the kids that in an odd way, I was sort of grateful that the truck broke. It showed me that I need to keep trusting in others…that the world, as crappy as it may be at times, is not all bad. And that God is always present in my life…during the blessings and the curses. I told the kids to pray for each person that helped me today…and to thank God for watching over us…things could have turned out much differently.

In closing, I had the privilege of going back to church tonight for a special Mass that was being said for the sanctity of religious freedom in our country…the boys were asked to serve Mass. Before Mass I got to experience the Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament which was absolutely beautiful. I said a Rosary, took some quiet time to reflect on the day, enjoyed watching my boys up on the altar and the words Father Marek spoke…I had one of the most daunting days I’ve had in a long time, and yet to have it end so perfectly seems amazing to me. Blessings and curses make the world go ’round.

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