June 29th was a day full of blessings, even though everything wasn’t perfect. The day started off well. After a week of gray, rainy days, we woke up to the beauty of blue sky and bright, yellow sunshine.
I received the Story Circle Network National e-Newsletter in my email. They featured my blog in their newsletter and even gave me a “Star Blogger” logo to put on my blog page. What a privilege to be honored in this way by such an accomplished and talented group of women.
Next, I got busy writing – I had a deadline to meet. I had been worried for days that I wouldn’t be able to think of anything to blog about, but at the last moment, the words just seemed to flow. The post was about the declining numbers of butterflies and other pollinating insects and how each of us has the power to make a difference in their plight. I realized as I wrote that I feel passionately that it is our responsibility to take care of this earth and its creatures. It felt good to be able to share that passion with others.
After lunch, I drove to town, about thirty-minutes away, ran a quick errand, and drove home. I hadn’t had much time to spend with Toby that morning, so I decided to take him for a ride. We slowly rode around the neighborhood, with the window down so Toby could stick his head out, for another thirty to forty-five minutes. He had such a good time. I got lots of sugars – “Thanks, Mom.” Toby sugars are one of my favorite blessings.
As I drove into the garage after our ride, my low tire light came on. I backed the car out of the garage so I could get to the tire, then stood there in amazement staring at it. It was totally flat. I had been driving on that tire for almost two hours. Driving on narrow two-lane rural roads with lots of traffic, but no shoulder. I could have had that flat at any time during that two hours, but I hadn’t. It hadn’t gone flat until I was safely in my own driveway. I felt so blessed. God was truly watching over me.
I called roadside assistance, but I live way out in the country, and it was rush hour in the city – the time when they make most of their money. The poor dispatcher finally called me back and said she couldn’t find anyone available, but she would keep trying, and maybe after rush hour she could get someone out here. I told her not to worry about it until the next morning when they weren’t so busy. After all, I was home safe; it would be okay.
It made me a little nervous not to have a vehicle. I’ve made many a trip to the emergency room with my husband over the years, and I like to be mobile. It bothered me enough that I considered getting out there and changing the tire myself. But I knew if I went out there to change that tire, my husband would feel compelled to come and try to help me. The neighbors would probably have chuckled if I’d tried to change the tire alone, but if my blind husband and I were both out there trying to change that tire, it would have been a full-fledged comedy routine. I decided to leave it alone.
The next morning, a very nice young man showed up to help me. It took over thirty minutes for the two of us to figure out (visualize two people pouring over user manuals and YouTube videos) how to get the spare tire lowered so we could take it off the chain. You have to poke this long stick through a hole into a slot that you can’t see. He finally had to crawl around under the car with a flashlight until he could figure out that the slot wasn’t directly behind the hole, it was to the right. Once he angled the stick off to the right, it worked fine, and he cranked the tire down.
He brought an X-shaped tool with him to loosen the lug nuts. There was a small, aluminum version that came with the car, but you can’t generate as much power with it because there is no crossbar. If I had tried to use that weak tool with my weak, old lady muscles – not a pretty picture.
Then we had to get the user manual out again to find one of the four places on the frame of the vehicle that are designed to interact with the head of the jack so the car can be safely lifted. If you don’t use the right spot, the head of the jack goes through the floorboard of the car. The car was low to the ground because of the flat. That poor man had to crawl almost two feet under the car to get that jack in place, with only about six to eight inches of clearance.
He was so nice. He explained every step of the process and why he was doing it that way so that if I’m ever in a position where I must change the tire myself, I will at least know how to do it. Again, I was blessed. Not every person that works for roadside assistance would have been as patient and helpful as that young man.
Once the car was in the air, he finished loosening the lug nuts, lifted the flat tire off and laid it on the ground. While he was getting the spare, I decided to see how heavy that 20” tire was. Oh, my goodness! That thing weighed 50-55 pounds. I could barely lift the tire enough to roll it. I would have struggled getting it into the back of the car. I suddenly understood just how much of a blessing it was that I hadn’t tried to change that tire myself.
Since my husband’s stroke, almost twenty years ago, I’ve been the only one able take care of stuff around the house. It didn’t matter what it was. Over those years I’ve handled burst pipes, mechanical failures, snakes, and varmints. I’ve had to force myself to face things that frightened or confused me because I was the only one there to do it. There were a few times I didn’t think I would be brave enough or strong enough to manage. I remember pretending to be Wonder Woman, with super strength, just to convince myself I could keep going.
But, as I watched that young man work, I realized that my feelings of guilt over not being able to change that tire myself were unrealistic. I wasn’t being fair to myself. No one else expects me to be Wonder Woman – why should I?
Four new tires later, and my car is driving smoothly again. Everyone I dealt with, throughout the entire situation, was extremely nice and focused on helping me. Having a flat tire is something no one wants to happen, but it taught me a great deal. None of us is a superhero, and we don’t have to be. There are people out there with the right strengths and skills to help us if we let them, and if we’re lucky, we may be able to help someone in return. What a blessing.