Abundantly Clear

By Kersley Fitzgerald

"Hi, Sweetie!"

"Hey, where are you?"

"I'm in a tow truck headed to Limon."

The first real winter day of the year and poor Dev blows a rod three miles from nowhere eastern Colorado. The shop in Limon was staying open late just for him. They gave him the estimate in short order — $4000 for a used engine, $7000 for a refurb. Or he'd buy it off us for $2800 seein' as how the tires are new. Then the owner's uncle, who works there and lives in Falcon, drove Dev the 55 miles to Falcon and delivered him to the Safeway 5 miles from our house.

Dev was a little surprised at how nonplussed I was about the whole thing.

"Well, I honestly thought you were going to hit a deer and get a rack through your chest."


"That or slip on ice and roll a couple times."

Because, and I swear I am not making this up, this is what women do — anticipate the most horrific ways their husbands can die and plan accordingly.

We discussed it without trying to make a decision. Dev and I leaned toward the refurbed engine. JT wanted a new car.

My darling son has never been anything but an aesthete.

The next morning we got into the Forester (Remember? The one that got rear-ended when it was six weeks old?) and drove to the mechanic we've gone to for several years.

"What are you thinking?" Dev asked.

I decided he was ready for the female fire hose. "We have that non-IRA investment that you funded before we got married. We used it to pay off the Outback when we moved here, and then again for maintenance. We could raid it and pay for the new engine. I just feel like it doesn't hurt enough. Like, this is a MAJOR THING and paying cash so easily takes away from the emotional burden we should be feeling for this MAJOR THING that happened. Not that we did something wrong and need to be punished, but maybe we could just take part out of the investment and use Christmas gifts and my year-end bonus and just call it a lean Christmas? I just feel like it should hurt, some, you know? A MAJOR THING should hurt."

He looked at me as if to say I broke down three miles from nowhere eastern Colorado with only 911 cell service in a cold front that dropped the temp thirty degrees in one hour and waited for a tow truck while scary strangers periodically offered me lifts just to find my best-beloved Escape is kaput and now we have to shell out thousands of dollars and not know if something else will go wrong, and you want more emotional burden?

He can say a lot with a look.

I texted S. Michael to give him an update. He texted back, "We prayed this morning that God would make it abundantly clear what you should do." (Only without the italics.)

I didn't feel very clear. Let alone abundantly so.

We reached the mechanic's. The mechanic who a year and half ago told us to keep the Outback and sell the now-kaput Escape. Because Subaru.

Which we're glad we didn't. Because we sold the Outback to the college-student son of friends, and we'd feel horrible if he'd blown a rod somewhere between home and Adams State.

While Jeff talked to another customer, his son Jeffrey looked up engines to see if the shop in Limon was giving us a good deal. "Yup. That's what it costs."

Jeff then elaborated on wiring harnesses and Jasper employees and my haircut while Jeffrey looked up what the Escape is worth.

"Pristine? $5500."


You don't put in a $7000 engine to build a $5500 car unless you love it, they said. Repeatedly.

Then Jeffrey spent twenty minutes looking up Subarus and Hondas on Craigslist, showing that we could get a decent, dependable vehicle without going bankrupt. A beater Accord? An Outback, one generation newer than what we just sold? "You know," he'd say, "230,000 miles is a lot, but for a Honda, it's just normal. And an Outback, of course you're going to get the problem with hoses and gaskets, but you already know to look out for that."

Abundantly clear? Abundantly mud.

Did I mention it was Veteran's Day? It was. Which was why I had the iPod Mini — I took a picture of the paperwork that said I was in the military so we could go out and get free lunch. We went to the bucks of the stars and got our free tall coffees because Wi-Fi. There were Subarus. Outbacks and Foresters. Newer than the one we'd sold, and some with low mileage. (Low meaning under 150,000.) One was at a dealership across town. We decided to go, but I knew I couldn't car salesman without lunch, so we managed to find the one restaurant that gave free food to vets without Wi-Fi.

While there, I remembered, the Escape was supposed to be JT's car in four years. Then his to take to college. But that would mean he'd be taking a very old Escape to college in another five years. This way, he'll be taking a Subaru or a Honda.

Oh! And, JT's short. I mean, he's a bit small for a 13-year old from Thailand, but many of his 'Merican classmates are a good foot taller than him. And I know from experience what it's like to drive one of those older Outbacks; it's hard to even see over medians. So a Forester it is.

Except Dev hates older Foresters. He thinks they look like fishbowls. One step away from a Pacer. But he'll take it. If it's best for his family, he'll drive a fishbowl. That, at least, is abundantly clear.

How on earth could a blown rod, three miles from nowhere eastern Colorado, turn out to be a blessing? It's not only a blessing, it's a message from God. Right now, as I read it, it says, Dev and eventually JT need a more dependable vehicle. I'm going to take away the Escape. You go seek the wisdom of many counselors, combine it with family needs and even personal preferences. See what comes up.

What came up was a Forester. With more years than the miles would suggest, and maintenance needs that were expected and reasonable. And it was red. Dev is so tired of silver SUVs.

I don't know if the rod blew so that Dev didn't go another five miles and get an antler through the chest. Or so that, ten years from now, JT has a beloved, classic Forester. But I am beginning to understand that if we're calm and go with God's flow, there doesn't have to be an emotional burden. Faith lessons don't always have to hurt.

That's becoming abundantly clear.

Image Credit: cooper.gary; "Colorado Storm"; Creative Commons

TagsBiblical-Truth  | Christian-Life  | Personal-Life

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Published 12-22-14