I had been coveting a bigger vehicle. Crazy, I know, especially with the price of gas lately. My husband kept reminding me that we don’t need a bigger vehicle. The four of us fit just fine in my Ford Taurus and when we take a trip, all our stuff fits just fine in the spacious trunk. Still, I thought bigger would be better – especially when we have family visit and we have to take two cars wherever we go, or one of us ends up squished in the back seat with the two kids in the car seats. It would be nice. But he’s right, we don’t need a bigger vehicle, and we especially don’t need a car payment. Still, I found myself searching mini-van listings online, scheming ways to get one.
Then on Sunday night, my trusty Taurus started to stall on us. And then the dreaded red “check engine” light came on. We spent Memorial Day at home. I ventured 1 mile down the road for hot dogs and watermelon in The Narrator’s car, but my car sat in the drive way all day, taunting us with that red light and the unknown of a repair bill. Engine trouble can be such a big unknown – from simple tune up to big bucks repair. We distracted ourselves by doing projects around the house that we already had the supplies for.
I suddenly found myself sheepishly repenting of my covetousness. How could I have been so ungrateful for a car that runs just fine, has incredibly low mileage for being 10 years old, and not to mention was a GIFT from my dear sweet Grandma two years ago when she bought a new car? I guess sometimes I learn contentment by nearly losing the source of my discontentment.
Tuesday morning rolled around and the car stalled on the way to the shop. I tried not to nibble my nails all day while The Narrator waited for the call. And when the verdict did come? Praise God – it only needed a tune up and some flushing out. Minor repair, minor bill. But BIG thankfulness on my part. No more looking at vans. No more wishing for something bigger. And next time I end up squished in the backseat, rather than dreaming of something bigger, I’ll be thankful that there is room enough for me and two car seats.
My green Windstar (who is known as George) is a faithful trooper – 166,000 miles, loaded down with equipment constantly. He’s a bit of a gas hog, and his center cowling makes it painful to drive. (issues with my knee, and my knee brace) I often hear the siren song of the Honda Element – smaller, better mileage, and fits me like a glove. BUT, George lives. He’s dependable. And I am grateful. I feel your pain, sistah – here’s to contentment. 😀
We just had a major repair bill on the mini van–just one month AFTER the warranty ended, of course! The 5 of us were squishing in my parent’s Jeep Wrangler–that meant one child in the front seat and an adult on the wheel well of the ‘back seat’. Same thing–lesson in contentment. Until the van came back and my first drive out we sat at a stop light behind a shiny new Prius and I began wishing for a SECOND car. How did I unlearn my lesson in thankfulness so quickly?
I am so with you sister! Here’s to both contentment and dreaming!
Story Girl says
Cal, I love that your van has a name! I should ask Little Miss to name ours…hmm.. Here’s to contentment with dependable!
Jenna, I think manufacturers know when their product will start to fail and set the warranty to end just before that. Just my theory! Grr.
Bessers – now that is learning a good balancing act and worth pondering – contentment and dreaming.
An Ordinary Mom says
I am really glad this story had a happy ending. Car troubles are no fun at all!
I’ve heard it presented this way: it’s not wrong or envy to dream and set goals. However, when our dreaming or goal-setting causes us to cease to be content with what we have, then we have crossed the line into envy.
For example, I may see that someone I know has their house beautifully decorated. This may cause me to realize that my house is not as nicely decorated as I would like. I can look around, take mental notes, and find ways to make my home more attractive to all those who enter it. I can find ways to do this within our means and in a way that brings glory to God. This is good. However, if I notice that same house’s decorations and devlop a bad attitude toward what God has given me, grumbling about my house and discontent with what I have, and/or if my discontentment causes me to spend money outside of what we have budgeted or can afford, then I have crossed the line into envy and discontentment.
I think the key to the balance is our attitude. We can be content while still dreaming & seeking to better our situation, or we can be discontent while keeping our smaller car or home decor or whatever if we allow our dreams to bog us down rather than spur us on to greater creativity.
Story Girl says
Oh, me too, Ordinary Mom, me too!
Thanks so much for sharing this, Bessers. That really is a fabulous way to define the difference and the line of crossing into discontent. Attitude definitely plays the key role. Great thoughts!