Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Van Transmissions

Stress doesn't back off simply because you are already under stress. Often it keeps coming, relentlessly picking at you, until you are worn down and discouraged. We piled into our van on Sunday morning for church and immediately noticed the "check engine" light burning on the dash. It felt sluggish, even going 30 km around town, and was having trouble changing gears. We went home to get Jason's car and carried on into Calgary, but the worry began to eat away at both of us.

We just put winter tires on the van, hoping it would get us through to the spring and then we planned to replace it. It's an 02, but other than basic maintenance, we've put no money into it in the four years we've owned it. You always know this day is coming, but you are never prepared for the phone call from the mechanic, who is also a friend, saying that the transmission is toast and needs to be completely rebuilt.

Making decisions when you feel panicked about money and overall life busyness is a bad situation. Jason and I both took time that we didn't have in our day yesterday to research a new vehicle for me to drive, all the while feeling sick that we invested in Jason's work car last fall and we hadn't researched or planned for another vehicle purchase this quickly.

I felt very overwhelmed looking for something else, because I didn't know exactly what I was looking for, and anything halfway decent was insanely expensive. Finally I calmed down a little, quieted my soul for the fifteen minutes I had before it was time to get Ava from school and take her to voice lessons in Airdrie (Jason came home early to work from home so I had a car) and realized that I wasn't prepared to buy a vehicle right now.

Making room for that still, small voice to speak can change everything in an instant. Before I listened for it, the idea of plunging thousands of dollars into an old van seemed downright silly, but after I heard it, I realized that it was the best option for us at this moment. It felt right, where the frantic shopping and spending money we hadn't planned for felt wrong. So I picked up the phone, called Jason, discovered he felt the same, and let our mechanic know that we wanted to fix the transmission and squeeze a little more life out of the van.

These inconveniences of life are frustrating, but in the long run they don't mean anything. The sting of spending this money and the time juggling one car for our family will fade into nothingness. It's not our health or our relationships. Money is significantly less important than those things. Making room for the still, small voice is the critical thing.

We all have to make decisions that we can live with, and recognize that blown transmissions are a part of life as a human being on planet earth. I want to embrace the opportunity to believe that it will all work out as it should. I have a chance for my faith to increase; to believe that God will look after us as he always has, and that often beauty comes from stress and frustration if we will open our eyes to it, and be open to the form it may arrive in.


  1. Oh Julianne,
    I really feel for you and understand the frustration and worry. It is so hard to just be still and listen to that still, small voice when something HUGE is happening. It's a good thing that nothing is TOO HUGE for Him! He always provides and we can always look back and be thankful, but when we're in the situation it is so difficult to see straight.

  2. Thank you, Erin. So sweet of you...I know that looking back it will all seem like no big deal, but you are right, at the time it's overwhelming. I'm glad I can put my faith somewhere besides just myself in these situations!