The Gift of Perspective

Christmas animals
Or maybe I should title this something more along the lines of, “When Your Day Falls Apart and You Have To Deal With it Anyway…”

Oh, Wednesdays.

So, usually, I like this kind of day. Wednesdays are the one day of the week when we don’t have to be anywhere until 11 a.m.

I try to sleep in a little and pray Mae does, too, but she seems to be on a permanent, wake-up-at-6:30-no-matter-what, kick these days. And so our day usually starts a bit earlier than I’d like it to, but yesterday morning I figured we’d make the best of it all, and I crawled into her bed to cuddle. We laughed, we joked, she stroked my hair and asked me if my headache was better. Yes, you may melt now. She’s just that sweet. :)

And then we got up to face the day. She had her breakfast and watched some tv while I worked out and got ready to leave the house.

We usually leave a few minutes early for gymnastics on Wednesdays so I can stop at Dunkin’ for a caffeine fix. It’s my once-a-week treat. :) We also needed to pick up a friend, too, and so I went out to the van around 10:15 to start it.

Turned the key.


I figured it was a fluke because we have had starter problems in the recent past. (Here, I might just insert that I don’t recommend a Dodge Caravan. I love my minivan, but I won’t be buying another one…this one has left me stranded just a few times too many.) One trick is to shift in into neutral, which will usually kick the starter back into working right.

But the van wouldn’t shift AT. ALL.

I called my friend and told her we wouldn’t be making it to gymnastics.

And then I called hubby, and by then I was so frustrated that I cried. (Sorry, T. I know you know it’s not you, but I’m still sorry.)

I tried a few other things like using a different key and attempting to shift it again, but nothing worked so hubby came home from work to look at it and confirmed that I wasn’t crazy. (Which was a weird relief. While most of me wanted the van to JUST. START.ALREADY, there was another little part of me that was relieved this wasn’t me and my female, I-don’t-understand-anything-about-cars, brain.)

And this was the part of the day when my brain started racing over all the things I needed to do. Pick up one more thing and get a friend’s birthday package in the mail. Bible study this morning, afternoon music practice for Mae, two music practices for me tonight, followed by a cookie exchange.

In short, I needed my van today.

But we had to have it towed…and the estimated return time? Unknown.

And I had to stop myself and remember that this was not the end of the world.

In my first-world mind, it felt like a big deal…until I thought of the people I know and love in another country who do life without a vehicle every single day.

The ones who live not much more than day-to-day and find the faith to know without a doubt that their needs will be taken care of.

The ones who don’t celebrate a Christmas that looks like mine…yes, we do Advent and look forward to Jesus and the reminder of just what a miraculous gift he was and still is. But our Christmas also comes with beautifully lit trees and equally beautiful packages (if my hubby wraps them) and music and apple cider and cookies and parties and special church services and a thousand other material reminders of the holiday that is so wonderful, so meaningful, and also so commercial.

And maybe I just need to, daily, go back to a young woman who, over 2,000 years ago, probably took the most uncomfortable ride of anyone’s life on a donkey. Dude, I know donkeys were just how people traveled back then, but still…I could barely walk when I was that pregnant. I can’t imagine sitting my bum on a donkey, riding through that kind of terrain, and actually staying on, to boot. (Ok, so yes there are theories out there that maybe she didn’t ride on a donkey…I’m going with the Sunday School answer today.) 😉

When it comes down to it, it’s all perspective, really.

Yeah, it’s a stinky day when life doesn’t look like I want (and need) it to. But maybe I don’t need it to, either.

Maybe my heart needs to slow down and remember the season…and the truth that I am a blessed child of God because of the gift that came wrapped in cloths, lying in a manger, so many years ago.

And may I remember that always, even on days when my van won’t start.

Update: Too much money later, at least I have my van back this morning. But it’s always good to gain some perspective, isn’t it? :)

Photo Source: openclipart



  1. Becky Palisuri says:

    Love your writing gift Mel! Miss you friend! Remembering that really fun Christmas we spent in Thailand :)

    • I still think of that Christmas often…some amazing memories with one of my dearest friends. :) Love you, girl! (And, really, we need to hit the Chiang Mai Night Market one more time in our lives, don’t you think???) (((hugs)))

  2. I am on my second caravan and love it. sorry for all your problems. If you ever need a ride I am here.

  3. I love this – we always need a shift in perspective this time of year. I am sorry your van failed you – again. I don’t have a caravan, but my mini-van has also been giving me problems, so I related. I am glad it is all fixed now, AND that you were able to have it fixed.

  4. I’m sorry about your van, but thankful it’s fixed. When these things happen in life, it’s great when we can get the greater perspective. These little temporary inconveniences have a way of either pushing us deeper into a pit or giving us eyes to see the blessings all around us.

    • I agree…it was one of those days I had to choose the blessings or I’d go crazy! 😉 And a few days after…it’s amazing how it doesn’t matter much anymore. Sending hugs to you, friend. :)

  5. Wonderful post! It really is amazing when we think back to the events surrounding the birth of Christ to realize that Mary & Joseph were real people, going through a normal pregnancy. I have loved that Luke puts it into perspective for us women….”Mary, who was obviously pregnant” (NLT). To me that said it all, she went through the bloat, the unable to see her feet & strap up her own sandals. the feeling of being big as a house. The only difference was the One she would birth. May we have eyes which see new wonders this Advent season. Love this post!

  6. great thought provoking post – it’s always good to stop and get a little perspective…

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