Monday, November 10, 2008

Trusting in times of complicated stress

Well, we closed on our land on Halloween. I wouldn't have chosen that date, but the taxes were overdue, and there was going to be an additional late fee if they continued unpaid into November. This was not our problem; it would have come out of the seller's profits. But we decided to be nice and hurry things along, and so now we are the owners of twenty New York acres. A big step for someone whose goal for the past 20 years has been to move out of New York.

Word travels fast. A friend from church called two days after we had closed to ask if he could hunt on our land. He offered to give us some venison steaks. I'm not sure I want any venison, but I don't mind him hunting. Maybe he would like to take Jonno out and teach him to hunt. Shawn was brought up hunting, but he doesn't much like it. I guess he's more a Jacob than an Esau. I think Jon would probably like hunting pretty well, though.

I might need to learn to like venison.

This past Friday I was taking Shannon to college and our car started to rattle and shake like crazy. We were on highway 481, and traffic was fairly heavy. I didn't know what to do! Shannon said, "You better pull over!" I thought about trying to make it to an exit, but there are not very many exits on that stretch of 481. I wondered why the check engine light was not coming on. Then it came on, and Shannon said, "Mom! Pull over before the car blows up!" Judging by the way things sounded, that was not an irrational statement.

We called AAA and a guy with a tow truck came... after I had sat on the shoulder for 30 minutes watching death approach time after time in my rearview mirror. People do not swing around you OR slow down when you are pulled over on the shoulder. It is really scary.

The AAA guy said it was a flat tire. I did not know how that explained the check engine light being on, but nevertheless, he changed the tire--put the donut on for us. After a harrowing experience getting back on the highway (during which I thought the AAA man would surely lose his life trying to help us), I drove to the next exit and went home by back roads.

Upon ariving home, we borrowed my DEAR neighbor's van to go to the high school to get our van, because DJ and Lu had driven to school. THEN I could finally take Shannon to college (she missed her first class).

Upon arriving home again, I went to take the car to Sam's Club to get the tire fixed. Shawn had arrived home from California at something like 12:15 a.m. the previous night, and was trying to sleep off jet lag, but it was an unsuccessful attempt. He had to pump up the donut, which was also flat, before we could take the car to Sam's together. In the end, they had to replace that tire and the one on the other end of the axle, for balance.

I told Shawn, "I think we'd better get a new car. I don't want that to ever happen again." He knew of a way to get a great deal on a three year old Mercedes, but his source, while reliable and utterly honest, is... um... slow. I did not want to wait two months for a great deal on a three year old Mercedes. I was still shaking with the memory of gargantuan tractor-trailer trucks barreling down on me at 75 miles per hour and passing within inches while my car shuddered as though in a turbine. I said, "I want a new car today."

I was hoping for a Honda Civic. We got an Accord. You have to let your man be a man, you know.

Actually, we don't quite have the new car yet, but the deal is settled and they are just detailing it and such while we get all the paperwork through. The waiting is a terrible thing. I would like to change my mind, but it is too late. Our old car drives nicely now that it has two new tires. The check engine light is off. I feel kind of sick. Shawn will pick up the Honda tomorrow at 1 p.m. and I will never see his silver Mitzubishi again. Did I mention that I feel kind of sick?

The car we got for Shannon will also be ready to go by the end of this week. Augh. I feel like I'm going to puke. Twenty acres and two cars in less than a month. Life will get easier. I HOPE life will get easier. Because if it doesn't, we will have made ourselves poor for nothing.

It is times like this when I have the most trouble trusting God. I prayed and prayed about the land. I prayed and prayed about Shannon's car. While going through the (admittedly very short) process of buying the Accord, I prayed that God would protect us from ourselves and stop it from happening if it was not according to His will. God doesn't need lots of time to answer a prayer. The length of time we pray means more to us that it does to God, I'm quite sure. But in major life changes (or investments, as the case may be), I always, always, always have the feeling I am being disobedient. I am SO GLAD I am not the man, and the ultimate responsibility doesn't rest on me. Just saying.

I need to trust, to trust and be thankful. It is a scary thing to impoverish one's family in an economic time like this. On the other hand, we are trading weak American dollars for stuff with a sort of real value (or at least a real use), so maybe it isn't so bad?

I think I should be shopping for a cow to raise on our land next. Oh, wait. That will require getting a barn first. And before we put a cow on the property, we should probably live there ourselves, but I can't even find a floor plan for a house that is both appealing and affordable. Why is life so complicated?

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