Car Trouble

Our van in 2005

“Burgundy” (Photo: Julia Ozab)

I’ve had an interesting morning.

It began as usual. I drove Anna to school. About halfway there, a warning light lit up on the dashboard. I didn’t think too much of it. Cold weather sometimes triggers errant alert lights.

Or as I explained to Anna “Burgundy doesn’t like the cold.”

Burgundy is Anna’s name for our van.

Then as I approached a right turn, I flipped the turn signal.


So I pushed the button to lower the window so I could signal by hand.


Now I knew something was wrong. I drove the rest of the way to school—very carefully—and dropped Anna off. I would have driven straight to our mechanic from there, but I forgot my cell phone so I had to go home and get it. Maybe I should have left the engine running while I went upstairs, but I didn’t. I came back down to start the car.


The lights still worked. The radio still worked. It wasn’t the battery, but something was wrong and now I needed a tow to the auto shop.

Quite a start to the day. I could focus on the negatives, and be angry, frustrated, or depressed, but instead I thought about all the positives.

We own a car—outright.

We are AAA members and get a free tow.

We have a reliable mechanic, who we’ve taken the car to since we bought it, so we won’t get ripped off.

The car didn’t quit on me this morning, with Anna in the backseat and no way to get her to school.

The car didn’t quit on us any time in the last week while we were out.

The car didn’t quit on me on the way to the Faith and Culture Writers Conference or on the way back home.

My mother-in-law lives close by, and shares her car with us. Julia drove it to work today so I could take Anna to school. Julia can pick Anna up if the car isn’t ready in time, and we can coordinate our schedules tomorrow if necessary.

There are so many good things to focus on, so many ways in which this situation could be much worse, that I refuse to dwell on the bad things.

Dwelling on them won’t change them. It will only make me feel worse. I’d rather give thanks for all that is good in my life. I’ve got a lot to give thanks for.

Has anything bad—or just inconvenient—happened to you lately where you were able to focus on the good instead? Did it help? Tell me about it.

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