Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: First World Problem (04/17/14)
By Karen Locklear
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Upon hitting the gas at an intersection on the commute to work, my car idled, and then suddenly jerked into gear so hard my face almost hit the windshield.
I assumed this wasn’t normal. So on the way in I dropped off the Ford Escape with my mechanic.
Told John the problem. He said it didn’t sound good. His guess was transmission.
Since I possess only enough mechanical knowledge to be dangerous, the word “transmission” used referencing a problem with my vehicle was concerning. And I was panicking on the inside because this wasn’t my plan.
My plan was no new car for at least another couple of years.
First prayer regarding car:
I know there are starving children all over the world. And I’m sorry they are starving. But I really don’t want to buy a new car right now. Please just let this be something stupid and relatively inexpensive.
Second prayer regarding car:
Hi. We spoke earlier today. I just wanted to reiterate I don’t want a new car. I know this is an unusual request. I’m pretty sure my mother has prayed exactly the opposite prayer, as Dad is funny about buying new cars. And I do appreciate the irony. But, really, I’d prefer to wait this one out.
Study Hall (I’m a high school teacher):
I told the younglings about my car dilemma. Being mostly seniors (and boys), they were all about advice.
“You should buy a Lambo”
“Nah, you should get a BMW.”
“My cousin can rebuild your transmission for ten bucks.”
I thanked them for their advice. Graciously.
Third prayer regarding car:
It’s me again. I just wanted to point out I do indeed tithe. Honestly, I don’t desire the responsibility of debt right now. So if you would see it fit, please, let’s hold off on the car at least until fall.
Got the call.
JOHN: Your transmission is shot.
ME: (Trying not to cry) For real?
ME: So how much will this cost me?
JOHN: Personally, I’d buy a new car.
JOHN: Because yours has 150,000 miles on it and who knows what will go wrong next.
ME: So when should I do it?
JOHN: Definitely before the weekend. Today would be great.
Cried. Seriously. Mainly out of sheer panic because the universe wasn’t following my plan.
I hate that.
Called my mom. She listened empathetically. It didn’t appear she saw this as the end of the world.
Discovered I had a connection to the neighborhood friendly Chevrolet dealership down the road. Started researching cars.
Decided two things:
1. Financing through my bank because I like them.
2. Chevy Malibu. New. Nothing fancy. Just utilitarian.
I drove one. It was fine. I picked one out. That was fine, too. Got the pricing/ trade-in right.
This was probably the least fun anyone has ever experienced buying a car.
By the time getting the car was done, it was too late to get to the bank. And this is where it gets weird:
They let me drive it home. Without bank paperwork. Without being even approved for a loan.
I could not make this up.
I’m an American. Trust is not exactly a characteristic of our culture.
24 hours later everything was finished. The loan was done over the phone. I signed it using some fancy email e-signature thing.
I met up with a friend that evening and gave her the lowdown. I was still irritated and emotionally exhausted. She saw it differently.
“God wanted you to have a new car,” she told me. “He’s trusting you with something. Great things are about to happen.”
Lately, I’ve faced a huge amount of resistance. Just doing the stuff I know I need to do is highly, highly difficult. And I hate this. But I haven’t looked at the other side.
I didn’t consider this could be big.
Honestly, I’m still not thrilled about a car note. And I really don’t understand the “whys”. But apparently God wanted me to have a new car. So I’m leaning in, reluctantly, putting one foot in front of the other.
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