April 2007 Linn County Leader Column – “The Travesty of a Terribly Torn Transmission”

(EDITOR’S NOTE: The Leader incorrectly formatted my column; it appears as one long continuous paragraph in the paper. For your viewing pleasure, here is the column in its correct format.)
Now, THAT’S a headline guaranteed to catch a person’s eye. Allow me to explain:

In the midst of planning our summer vacation to westbound points, we had noticed that our van was acting weird. Not scary weird, but a shake-your-head kind of bewilderment that makes you wonder if your sanity is holding fast. Our check engine light would intermittently pop on and off, and the engine would stall after being driven on the highway for a bit.

Well, everything was fine and dandy until about three weeks ago, when lo and behold, our transmission decided to commit hari-kari on a trip to Milan. Thankfully, I was by myself when I felt a thunk! and the van lost all power to the drive train; upon glancing in the rear view mirror I beheld the awesome sight of a trail of dark red fluid streaming from behind me.

So, after pulling off to the side, a hurried call to the wife and a quick tow back into Brookfield, our van sat in the shop awaiting an inspection and the news…another transmission was needed. And after spending a good chunk of our vacation savings (around one grand), we were happily back out on the road.

Or, so we thought. But after four days, our van started acting goofy again.

This time, more bad news: we needed the cam sensor replaced. Another Benjamin and some change gone. Whew! This was getting kind of expensive…not to mention aggravating. When would the madness end?

Soon, it turned out. Thank the Lord that, as of this moment, our previously reliable mode of transport is back to its old self again after the part was replaced (kudos to Precision Auto in Brookfield for their fast service), and it is ferrying the Davis household back and forth to meetings, church, appointments, etc.

After doing some research on the Internet, I found out that this make and model of van is sometimes notorious for these bizarre behaviors. Normally very, very dependable, the Plymouth Voyager is like most every other vehicle out on the market today. It can go for months, even years, without a hitch; but nothing is perfect that is made by man. Sooner or later, problems arise and ever-increasingly mount up around us.

Going through this “travesty” with our vehicle these past few weeks reminded me of some simple facts from God. Parts wear out; mistakes are made; designs are flawed on this earth. As humans, we try our best to do our best, but it’s simply not enough. Only through our Lord can we achieve a perfected state one day in Heaven, and that is only through the shed Blood of Jesus Christ.

This little bit of discomfort that Jeannie and I had to endure was inconvenient, sure…but it was nothing compared to what the Lord had to suffer on the Cross. And with the help of relatives and friends (among them the Bagleys, the Brosts, and the Fuhrhops) we never went without transportation, and our physical needs were met. All in all, it wasn’t really that much different than what we endure in day-to-day living.

And, sure, we’ll have to re-save the money that was earmarked for part of our vacation in the next few months…but we know that with the Lord’s help, this too will come to pass. It’s just another minor blip on life’s radar; just another speed bump on the road that leads to eternity with our Father in Heaven.

Jeannie oftentimes asks me why I can have such a positive outlook all the time; why it seems that things just don’t get me down or discouraged. All I can tell her is that I’ve learned, through eighteen years of walking with Jesus, to keep my eyes on Him and not let the churning waters of the storms of life overcome me. I really look to the example of the Apostle Peter when he stepped out of the boat and walked on the water like Jesus did. At first things were fine; but in the moment when he took his eyes off of the Lord and instead focused on the angry seas around him…well, he began to sink. Just as we do when our attentions get placed on the world, and not on Christ.

It’s another valuable life’s lesson to share…and to live as well.

A final thought: transmissions in vehicles can be replaced; so, too, can the drive trains in our lives. The organ that powers our bodies is our hearts; and when those hearts that are hardened by life are “exchanged” with hearts of flesh, truly wonderful things happen. Lives are forever changed; souls are saved for the Kingdom of God; miracles are seen and heard…and it all begins with Jesus. And it’s as simple as asking for forgiveness for your sins, and giving your life to Him.

You know…there’s nothing like a “new” part or a fresh “oil” change to give a person a better outlook on life.

Have a happy and joyous Easter!

(The Davis family’s vacation is still on the planning boards, and they look forward to some much-needed roaming time. You can reach Richard to leave him feedback at sliceofhome@sbcglobal.net, or via his daily blog at https://sliceofhome.wordpress.com. His column appears monthly in the Linn County Leader.)

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