Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Finding the Blessings in the Storm

This is my old car, Sally. She was a fast car. She was until the day that her oil pump went out. Now she is sitting in someone's driveway waiting to be salvaged in East El Paso. She died on 3/10/2020, just before the world went nuts!

What was I doing when she died? I was on my way out of town to work in Hobbs, NM for the week. I do that a bit. Back in January, I calculated that I have spend 1/3 of my new job away from home. That of itself isn't easy, but by the Father's grace, I have been able. I could focus on the bad that is happening, or I could focus on the positives that I see around me. Someone once observed that I always see the positive, assume the best of a person as soon as I meet them. I believe that is accurate. What you focus on, you will see.

For example, when I first got that car back a couple of years ago, I started noticing other Malibus. To that end, there are 6 other Malibus in Las Cruces that is the same color as mine. One of which lives two doors down from me. Of those 6, one is tinted nearly as dark as mine and lacks the antennae, It is a near perfect clone. It is the same when I was wanting a Bronco. My kids ceased to be amazed at how I could spot a Bronco and know that I wasn't looking at the grill of an F150 or the shell of a K5 Blazer with minimal context. I still can.

Needless to say, I started driving a Malibu, and I saw Malibus everywhere. I wanted a Bronco, and now still can see Broncos everywhere. Oh, that desire was killed by my horde hauler, my Sequoia, of which I see a bit around town, including one that's the same  color with similar sun damage to the clear coat on the passenger side.

Let me get back on point. I choose to look for the positive in others. I choose to look for the blessings in the storm because that's what Paul encourage the Philippian Church, "Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable - if there is anything praiseworthy - dwell on these things." (Philippians 4.8 CSB). We are to look for these things. I believe this is also for us to look to see the blessings.

And what blessings are there? For me, this hit me hard. I hate being a one car family. We were one car early in our marriage. She would drive the car to work in the day, and I would drive it to work at night. Sometimes, however, I would need the car during the day, and that found Carol walking home from work because I fell asleep before I would go in to work. I never thought I would see that day again. And now with us having a horde instead of being just a couple...alrighty then.

The car broke down 60 miles outside of Carlsbad. Carol had to come and pick me up. My roadside assistance didn't handle "more than 12 miles". Did I mention that Carol had to work the next day? We got home at 1 am. Now my company is great, but I still had the work to do, and I promised that I would maintain reliable transportation. The company, rightly so, couldn't help me, other than to allow me to claim the time I drove home as well as the miles Carol spent rescuing me. But that meant that I had a problem to solve. How does Carol get around Las Cruces while I am away? Or how do I do my job without my car?

As I waited on the side of the road, that was the first blessing. My car came to a stop along a road in what appear to be a saddle going up the Guadalupe Pass. That saddle not only has a beautiful view of the valley leading to El Paso to the west, and of the valley heading to the Pecos River to the east, but that saddle of a stop, I had 2 bars on my phone for service. Normally driving that highway, I would listen to my Pandora app offline since I couldn't get radio stations, and most of that highway has no reception. (One time, a few miles back from where I stopped, I saw a man sitting up on his big U-Haul trying to get a signal for his phone. Since I was on company time, I couldn't stop to offer help. But I am confident that he had help coming. The car carrier he was towing looked freshly unloaded.) I was not only able to call Carol, my boss, roadside assistance as well as my insurance agent, I was able to look up rentals. I figured since I was heading to Hobbs, NM, I could rent a car. Sadly, the rental store had a two hour window that began at 10 am, which was too late a start for me. So then I figured maybe rent a car.

Blessing 2 came on its heels. Carol had arranged with her co-worker to hitch a ride to work so that I can take my Toy to Hobbs. No problem. Then Friday the 13th came, and Carol was out of work. COVID 19 shut the schools down. Though it was part time, every bit helped. Now she didn't need but a ride for a couple of days and my taking the truck on Sunday through Tuesday wasn't a hardship so much. She still needed a ride to the store, that ride of course provided by a dear friend. Then Monday I received a call telling me that my TDY, and everyone across the board was cut short. I found myself driving between Las Cruces to Lordsburg to Silver City, to Truth Or Consequences. Monday the 23rd, we started home bound. I would venture out for interviews and records only as needed. So the blessing was that I was able to use my truck and the work changed so that we are not really affected by having only one vehicle. To this writing, since the 23rd, I have only needed to head into two three times counting tomorrow.

My job has been at-home traveling into public. Now it's changed so that I am at-home calling into public. So there's the third blessing. I am not putting myself at risk, except when I need to venture to the store for essentials.

And the fourth is that I received a promotion just a couple of days ago. The difference is that now Carol is unemployed, my increase covers what she was bringing in. She can now focus on her soap business, as well as making masks for those who want one.And she's made half a dozen to point. I guess there's another blessing.

I want to encourage you, Reader, to look for the blessings. It is hard. With all that is hitting us from the media, from social media, it is so easy to see the fear. Hear me, I am not saying to downplay the COVID 19. Play it smart, play it responsibly. But personally, I am tired of all that I see that I have tuned out anything COVID related. I want to encourage you to tune out the negative and look to our Father. Yes, it's scary. God never promised that the storms wouldn't hit us. He never promised that He would only give us what we can handle. I can't handle the storms. I am not big enough (last checked, I am pretty BIG). But the Father wants you to look for him. In John 6 beginning verse 16, the disciples are in a boat, rowing in a storm, and are scared by something they saw. Jesus then calmed them, and THEN he removed them from the storm. In Acts 21, the Father warned Paul, gave Paul advanced warning of the storm that was heading his way. Yet Paul told the Church in Corinth that in Paul's weakness, God strengthened him. To the Church in Rome, Paul gave this promise, "God will work all things to the good of those who love Him." - Romans 8.28.

And finally, to make a long post short, which is a little late now, all storms pass. Again, this storm, like others before it, shall pass. Looking to the Father, focusing on His love for us, you'll soon find this storm finished.

Hey, thanks for reading along. May the Father's blessings shower richly upon you.

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