My car wouldn’t start this week. In the subzero temperatures blowing through our Windy City, my car battery decided it had lost the will to live. First time it happened, I was secretly happy to be stranded. Second time it happened, it meant missing my therapy appointment and spending money I didn’t have on car repairs. The engine clacked emptily, as I wrenched the key into start.
I pressed my head against the steering wheel, hands white-knuckling it, and cried bitterly, like a petulant child.
I’m home now, in Michigan. I made the long, quiet drive between snow banks and trees after dark, slipping quietly into the house after midnight and between the sheets of the spare bed.
The thing is, I’m no mechanic. I stick my head under the hood of the car and stare blankly at all the foreign parts, a complicated mess that all seems broken and beyond repair.
My brother and father are the motorheads. They’ve taught me over the years to handle some things for myself – how to determine when I need an oil change, how to jump my car, how to put air in my tires, how to read the service engine codes, how to stand my ground against the sleezy sales guy at Autozone. But when the fixing needs doing, I go to them.
I woke up this morning and my brother had already replaced my battery.
I got a text from a friend yesterday. We don’t see each other often or even know one another that well, but she’s the kind of person that constantly casts light from her corner of the world, her corner of the internet in which, there, we keep tabs on each other.
The conversation was short, but piece by piece, she helped me break down some hurt and confusion I was struggling with. It’s clear where her gifts lie, and where her particular wisdom fuzes understanding for those outside of her education and experience. Her words were a spark by which I better understand my own gifts.
And this now, I know :
My hands don’t belong in the belly of an engine or in the muck of every messy paradigm, but resting on the keys of storytelling, where the tension we live meets the truth of grace, healing the cold mechanics of the human heart.
“He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.” – Ephesians 4:15-16