Thursday, March 30, 2006

I know I am American when...

1. I feel paralized without my car.

and

2. I feel "hungry" three hours after I had my last meal.

Two times in the last two weeks my car has been at the mechanic. The joys of having an old car! Two weeks ago the clutch finally gave out. It was a good clutch. It had been faithful for 12 years and 150,000 miles. It cost me almost $1,000. ::GULP:: When I write checks like THAT I always remind myself, "You have no car payment, you have no car payment, you have no car payment." Sometimes that type of "self-talk" works and other times it makes me roll my eyes.

Anyway, yesterday, when I was already running late for work, I jumped in my car and it would not start. So, I took mom's mini van to work and tried to stay positive. Could be the spark plugs, $15 repair. Could be the timing is off, cheaper repair than some things. Could be the fuel injector, lets not think about that price. My dad looked at everything, made sure I had fuel (I have yet to run out of gas, thank you very much!) and he could not figure it out.

We had Dick, our trusty neighbor who has every gadget imaginable and knows how to fix any problem, look at it. He thought it was the timing belt or the fuel injector. He said, "Well, I cannot fix that, but let's tow it to the shop." So he gets out his towing stuff and we push the car up the hill. The boys pushed me down the hill, onto the towing trailer (which I thought I would drive up and over because of how fast I was going!) and we head to Johnny Good, Inc. We unloaded my truck and dropped the key in the box.

Now I wait. Wait to hear the fate of my faithful, beloved Isuzu Trooper. This morning when I got up I was reminded that someone had to take me to work. I feel like I am being a bother and in a way I feel paralized. I had some errands to do today. My brother has to come get me with the kids in tow. My dad had to drop me off. Someone will have to go with me to get the car at the shop.

Now, what does THIS have to do with being American? EVERYTHING. Why in the WORLD do I feel paralized without my truck? It is a luxury that I take for granted EVERY day. I hop in, drive around and think nothing of it. Until I am reminded of what I have seen all over the world. How about the 50 Africans in the mini bus all hanging out like clowns in a circus van to get to the next village? How about the thousands of bicycles that are used every day in Amsterdam to get people from one place to another? How about the African women who walk mile upon mile from home to the store in 120 degree weather to buy flour? No plush seats, sleak sports cars, massive SUVs, air conditioning, heater, CD player, radio, massager or rest for their feet.

And I feel put out that I am carless for a few days? Actually, I am not completely carless, which makes this all the more convicting. I have acess to three other cars. Each driver in my household has a car. I can use any of them. How pathetic. Now, I am not against owning a car. I am just trying to tell myself how pathetic my feelings of frustration are! I am so blessed to own a car. I am blessed that I can use it to see the world, minister to others and accomplish even the most basic tasks.

So there. That is what I learned today.

As for number two, getting "hungry" when I have not eaten for a few hours. I think, for us Americans or anyone in a developed country, eating is a habit. We eat because it is "time" not because we are truly nurishing our body or hungry.

Anyway... I could say more about being American. I love it. Yet, I am beginning to see how much God requires of Christians in America because of what He has given to us. I am learning that my FIRST citizenship is in heaven and I must think and act like God's subject. His lows, rules, commands and mindset must overrule my American heritage. I must make my American mind conform to God's. There, a car is a blessing and not a right. There, a meal is a gift and not a habit.

1 comment:

Rachel's Jeremy said...

Wow, an Issuzu Trooper ehh? I had a '85 that finally blew with 285,000 miles on it, and the '88 I have now has 235,000 and still runs. Well built machines for the most part.