Thursday, June 02, 2016

The Loaner

I'm not sure if you remember but this devotional is a sequel to one I penned on April 13 called The Scratch. That entry centered around scratching my Honda Fit rather deeply and longly on the automatic gate at my apartment complex. I'd decided not to get it fixed but my brother Dave told me I should, reminding me of the purpose of insurance. (Not coincidentally, Dave's college roommate was Randy King, my insurance agent!) So, as the passenger side quickly began rusting, I made the choice to repair, but due to time constraints, it had to wait until school was out. Randy put me in touch with the good folks at SAFECO, my provider; they steered me to Service King, only three miles from my living quarters. I was accompanied by Brian Burney, a fellow Nebraska Youth Camp alum and husband of Marsha, my childhood neighbor. Brian, who works in the automobile industry, went with me when I bought my car in 2010 as somebody who knows what questions to ask and I needed his expertise again. At Service King, Ricardo was in charge of my estimate. He took pictures and then he and Brian had a discussion which was in English but spoken in terms which were meaningless to me. The final bill was $1,266 of which $1,000 is to come from my not quite so full pocket. They started forty-eight hours ago and I should be getting my good-as-new Honda back in a couple of more days.

Here is the funny part. It won't bother me if they run behind and it takes a week or two before my car is ready. Why? Let me introduce you to Edmond. My SAFECO policy includes a free rental car for up to 30 days and those nice folks already had made a reservation with Enterprise which has an office right next to Ricardo's. As I sat down with Edmond, the Enterprise manager at the Service King location, we discovered he'd been a camper at our WCS basketball camps, so our paths had crossed before! When I drove off the lot fifteen minutes later, it was in the FIAT 500X pictured above in my parking space. Edmond had arranged for me to sit behind the wheel of the nicest car I've ever driven, at least for several days. I feel like a millionaire! And that's why I won't be upset if it takes some extra time to finish the repairs on my own car. 

But this entry is about more than just having a sweet ride for the short haul. Two nights ago, as I arrived home, I got out of the FIAT and locked it electronically. Being paranoid, I double checked the door handle....and it opened. I locked it again and again; same result. I even locked it from the inside mechanism but as soon as I tested it, unlocked. I read the owner's manual and made no sense of it. So, I drove over to the other side of my complex where Paul and Ann Arnold live. Paul, our long-time WCS Director of Facilities, knows about everything mechanical. He explained what I was missing. This FIAT has a state of the art locking system. If the remote entry key fob is within five feet of the car, the system senses it and automatically unlocks the doors as soon as you touch the handle. And he was right! I was in awe and remain so two days later. There was a power in my possession and at my disposal that I was unaware of. That unseen power is there for my convenience (and my delight!) but also for my safety. And in just two days, I've become semi-competent in the FIAT wizardry.

It's not hard as a believer for me to come up with spiritual parallels. God is always there whether we are aware or not. It would be too easy to make an analogy about His opening doors for us but that would be a legitimate argument. With me, it's more like my relying on myself rather on the One who cares for me more than I care for me. I give myself credit for successes when in fact, Our Father may simply have cleared obstacles from my path. And here's something else. I found out today, when driving down US 59 on my pilgrimage to get my VISA to Vietnam, that the FIAT beeps when I get too close to another vehicle! I wish I had that danger signal programmed in me. Oh, wait- I do. It's called my conscience. I guess I'm wired intricately as well as this rental car! Well, if the good people at Enterprise would like to give me this FIAT in return for some good advertising, I certainly won't object. It only has 10,000 miles on the odometer. I'd become adept at the entry system and could be a poster boy for technical breakthroughs. But, my guess is that it's only a remote possibility.

Applicable quote of the day:
“Money may not buy happiness, but I'd rather cry in a Jaguar than on a bus.” 

 Fran├žoise Sagan

God bless,
Luke 18:1
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