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How Many Blessings...?
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How Many Blessings...?

Categories: OpinionReligion

October 21, 2010

Blessings, I think, are like air.  We're able to breathe air every moment of every day, but we don't consciously think about each breath we take, nor do we consciously think about each blessing we receive.  So when I recognize a blessing, I think of that as taking one of those deep, refreshing breaths that we occasionally need - the kind that make us aware of our breathing.  I understand that I've received countless additional blessings each day - I just don't know what they are.

But how many recognizable blessings can we receive in one day?

Last year, I had a problem with my car.  The "Check Engine" light wouldn't go off.  I took it to Ted Weins, the most reputable (and expensive) mechanic in Las Vegas - the company who repairs the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department's cars.  The vehicle registration was about to expire, so I wanted to get the problem fixed with a minimum of hassles.  The mechanics looked at the car, hooked up to the on-board diagnostic (OBD) computer, read the OBD diagnostic trouble codes (DTCs), told me what it needed, worked on it, and I paid a hefty sum.  Soon after, the light came back on.  I took it back, they worked some more, and I paid some more.  Again, after I left, the light came back on.

I'm not one to complain, so I decided to simply take the car somewhere else.  It's my belief that the problem with these OBD computers are the computers themselves.  But I'm not a mechanic, and mechanics seem to think those OBDs are flawless.  I, on the other hand, work with computers, and I know they're not (flawless).  The problem with mechanics is that they no longer exist.  Mechanics, I mean.  Real mechanics.  The kind that could listen to an engine idle and tell you what needed to be done to make it run better.  Today's "mechanics" can't seem to troubleshoot an engine without hooking it up to a computer.  I can't blame the mechanics for that.  The government forces them to use the OBD system, so they no longer have the opportunities they once had to learn how a real mechanic troubleshoots.  But that's a whole different story.

I took the car to a mechanic that specialized in automotive electrical problems (and, presumably, electronics).  Unfortunately, I went through the same routine.  They plugged their computer up to my OBD, identified some problems through the DTCs, made some adjustments, replaced a few parts, and charged me a reasonable sum of money.  After I left, convinced the problems was solved, the light came back on.

I then started asking my friends if they could recommend a good mechanic.  A close friend told me about her uncle, an auto mechanic, so I took the car to his business.  Same-a-ting.  He looked at the car, read the DTCs, criticized the other mechanics' work, adjusted, replaced, billed, and shipped me out.  Within a few days, the light came back on.

After about $900 worth of work, I decided I needed to find an outside-the-box solution.  I went online, read others' experiences, and found what I had hoped would do the trick.  Well, it didn't fix the problem, but it allowed me to get the car successfully through the smog test.  Soon after passing the smog test, the "Check Engine" came back on and stayed on.

A few weeks before the registration expired the next year, I received a registration renewal notice from the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) with the words "SMOG REQUIRED" in upper case letters.  Bummer.  I wasn't going to pay the mechanics for pointless work again, so I woke up early one morning and tried the trick I had used the previous year to get the smog certificate.  Success!  There's no better way to start the day than beating the government at their own game!  The whole smog certificate thing is a racket that costs motorists millions of dollars each year on unnecessary auto repairs.  But that's a whole different chapter.

"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ."

Ephesians 1:3 (NIV)

After the smog test, I went to work as usual.  While I was in the men's room, I noticed that the trash was nearing the overflow point.  In classes at my church, we had learned that everything we do is a test from God.  Everything!  So even though it wasn't my job, I decided to empty the trash simply because it needed to be emptied.  At the bottom of the trash can was a small, white button.  Great! I thought.  I had popped a button of the cuff of my shirt - the very shirt I was wearing that day - about two weeks earlier.  I picked up the button, compared it to another button on my shirt, and it was an exact match.  What a small thing, but still something to be thankful for.

That day was the biggest rain storm of the year in Las Vegas, so when I got off work and went home, I told my wife I would take her to school.  She had only received her driver's license a few months before, and she had never driven in rain.  I wanted to make sure she understood that she must drive - start, stop, and turn - much slower in rain than on dry road.  She agreed, and while she would be in her class, I agreed to take our daughter to the mall.

As we're exiting the freeway, the car stalled.  The battery was fine, and we were not out of gas.  As I tried to restart it, I recognized that the sound from the engine was that of a more serious problem.  This was a mechanical failure.

It was dark by this time, and still raining.  I pulled out my cell phone and called the American Automobile Club (AAA, or "Triple A").

I didn't realize it at the moment, but a series of rapid-fire blessings had already begun.

I've been grateful to AAA for decades.  What awesome services they provide, and at such reasonable prices.  I don't know how they do it.  I'd wanted to place some ads on my website for businesses I really wanted to support, but I knew I had to be careful about which businesses I chose and which ads I placed.  Kiva was the first.  I'm proud that AAA was the second.

The AAA dispatcher gave me a long ETA, but promised to give the call a high priority since we were blocking high-speed traffic coming off the freeway.  A few minutes later, I received a call from the dispatcher telling me that the tow truck could only accomodate two passengers, not the three of us.  So I needed to call a taxi.

"Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in him."

Psalm 34:8 (NIV)

In Las Vegas, all of the cabbies work on the Strip - that's where the passengers and the money are.  But there's one cab company, A Cab, that, for political reasons, is not allowed to serve the Strip or the airport.  A Cab serves only the west side, where we were disabled.  I called A Cab - (702) 369-5686 - and they gave me a ten minute ETA.  Awesome! I thought.  I could send my wife and daughter on their way, and I would stay with the car and go with the tow truck driver when he arrived.

It was then I started to think about all the blessings I had received that day.  As the night progressed, I continued thinking about the day's blessings.  Here are just a few that I can think of now:

  • The passed smog test.
  • The lost-and-found button.
  • If it hadn't been raining, I would not have taken my wife to school and she would have been stranded on her own, not knowing what to do, not able to speak English well to communicate her dilemma, location, etc.
  • If it hadn't been raining, and I hadn't offered to take my wife to school, my daughter would not have come along.  It was a blessing that she did because she speaks English much better than my wife, and she was better able to communicate with the cab driver on the way home.
  • If we didn't have technology such as cell phones, I (we) would have been forced to leave the car and walk off the freeway.
  • If we weren't AAA club members, we would have had to pay to have the car towed.
  • If we didn't live in Las Vegas (I still don't know why God prompted me to move here), we may not have had such excellent tow and taxi service.
  • The rain stopped just after we stalled, so I was able to have a look at the engine without standing out in the storm.
  • Despite the long tow ETA and the short cab ETA, the tow truck driver, Francisco, arrived first.
  • The tow truck driver agreed to wait for the cab so I didn't have to leave my wife and daughter alone on the freeway.
  • The taxi arrived minutes after the tow truck did.  I coordinated our plans with the driver, and sent my wife and daughter on their way home.
  • We didn't get rear-ended.
  • Later, I received a text message from my wife saying she and our daughter had arrived home safely.
  • I had a great conversation with Francisco, a Christian, on our way to the auto repair center.
  • Francisco gave me a ride from the repair center to walking distance of my home, so I didn't have to wait for or ride the bus, or spend even more money for another taxi.
  • I had a nice walk home in beautiful weather.

"O LORD Almighty, blessed is the man who trusts in you."

Psalm 84:11 (NIV)

Many people would have been cursing this experience and this day.  I think about all the blessings that allowed us to handle the situation with confidence and "no worries", as the Aussies say.

"May you be blessed by the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth."

Psalm 115:15 (NIV)

How many recognizable blessings can we receive in one day?  I think more than we can count.  I think we need to stop and consider how good things are; recognize that every breath we take is a blessing, and every time we exhale, we are confirming that we are infinitely blessed by God.  We, as humans, are simply not able to comprehend the numbers, the amounts, the volumes of these blessings, just as we are not able to measure the amount of air that passes us each day.

How many blessings do you receive each day?  You may never know.  But how many do you recognize?  The answer to that question is simple: How many do you choose to recognize?  That is entirely up to you!


User Comments:
Jonas - Oct 27, 2010 08:36:19 — For anyone whose made it this far, here's the end of the story: As I suspected, it was the water pump.  And replacing the water pump requires a new timing belt, so the total cost was about $720.  The mechanic assured me that the timing belt was most likely the cause of problem with the "Check Engine" light, and that would not be identified through the use of the OBD, DTCs, etc.  That was encouraging, but I wasn't going to hold my breath.  About seven miles out of the shop, the "Check Engine" light was on.  What can I say - it's simply a system forced on the public by the government that doesn't work.  Should we expect any different?

"If you can't say something nice, let's hear it!"   — Joan Rivers

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