Thursday, May 27, 2010

Broken AC...and me

Several weeks ago we took Lover's 1993 Geo Prism to a local auto repair shop to have the air conditioner fixed. The wonderfully frigid air was certainly worth the $800 bill, especially as the temperatures here in East Texas push towards triple digits. Now we ride around town as a family in the little ol' Prism, taking no prisoners at estate sales, Starbucks, and the Wal-Mart parking that car.

And then it got awkward.

A few days after we got the Geo back, I noticed that my 1996 VW was not kicking out the cold jets from the air vents. This was, to put it mildly, horribly frustrating. "NOT AGAIN!" This is merely the latest in a long string of maladies suffered by the Passat. For instance, the passenger side rear door has no handle and can't even be opened from the inside. It is stuck shut forever. The driver's side door does not open from the outside, so every time I want to get in my car I use my keys to roll down the windows (cool VW feature, I know) and open the door from the inside.

The Passat in Better Days

The trunk locking mechanism doesn't work, so if I want to haul stuff I literally have to put my back seat down and stuff items through the small opening. The windshield has a huge crack in it, the paint on the top of the car has started to peel off, and the nearly 160,000 miles on the car are embarrassingly evident.

And don't even get me started on how annoying it is to shove a car seat (with a JUMBO fat baby in it) all the way across to the passenger side of the back seat from the driver's side rear door...once I shove the boys into their seats in the back, we roll through town with steamy Longview air blasting our faces. Three glistening gingers riding in a little white Passat...quite a scene we create.

I've learned to deal with these little annoyances and we've made the decision to stick with this car until it dies (even though we saw a classy little scooter for sale on the side of the road today). The Passat is certainly not perfect, but it's paid for, and it gets us from Point A to Point B. So it's a "working broken" car, and for now it'll have to do.

This idea of the Passat being a "working broken" car resonates with me because my life could be described in exactly the same way..."working broken". And if we were honest, we'd probably agree that the description fits all of us. And sometimes, car repairs can be a great metaphor for bigger "repairs" that need to be made.

One of my co-workers, Natrone Means, recently suffered a car repair episode with his jeep. The car repair hit at the exact time that Natrone decided to make a major change in his life for the better. He's got a "crack in his windshield", but he's moving forward. Couldn't be more proud of him for taking the steps he's taking.

My car repair issues have come to a head recently, but they've actually been developing slowly over the past few years. And like I said, the car still runs and can get me from home to work, but there are a lot of parts that don't work. My life is the same, and there are a lot of unhealthy issues that have developed slowly over the past few years. When did I start eating so poorly and watching endless hours of TV? What made me think that it would be okay to not spend good time in God's Word on a regular basis? How did it become so easy to disconnect from what's going on in my own family when I feel worn out and tired? Why do I feel so inconsistent in every area of life (work, church, home, etc)?

These "life repair" issues have caused a lot of self-examination and with the help of an excellent life coach, I am trying to make some significant changes. But I'm quickly realizing that no matter how hard I try, I'm always going to be "working broken". You can try and try, but you can't ever fix everything. This reality drives me a little bit crazy.

The kids are always going to wake up early and interrupt my time with God, and no matter how cute they are in some moments, they're just as annoying in other moments. I'll have a miscommunication with Lover and feel like we're not on the same page, and then a few moments later I'll look at her and wonder how I got so lucky to end up with her. I'll eat too much, work out too little, and feel terribly out of shape and then someone at work will ask, "Have you lost weight?". I'll ignore people that could be great friends and isolate myself because it's easier, and then feel frustrated when I don't have good relationships...and then some old faithful friend will call just to see how I'm doing.

It's a big, messy, awkward pursuit...and I am becoming more confident that in the midst of my broken approach to life, God is working. And His work is always good, despite how awkward it may seem.

So the VW keeps rolling.

It's gonna be a scorching hot summer.


  1. Amen, DFEZ! That post resonates with me on so many levels. Wife and I just went through the same car fixes. Her A/C completely broken - it was blowing the hottest air, straight out of Hades - regardless of the setting. The VW Jetta only blows cold air on low, which is a trickle... Anything higher and the fan makes the most unholy racket. Cracked blower wheel, they say. Too much $$ to fix, I reply.

    Anyways, God has been slowly piecing together my life after I've made many decisions in my life over the past ten years that lead to brokenness. God is good, though. Right now we're awkwardly pursuing the future (kind of vague, but it has to be) - all the while knowing that the trials we endure will lead to the refining of our faith (I Peter 1:6-7).


  2. I TOTALLY can relate - the little toyota tercel I had when living in Athens was a good little car, but the AC crapped out a couple years before the car died altogether, so I was "glistening" for a couple hot GA summers.

    But I understand "working broken" too. How do we always settle into a "broken" routine until God intervenes?

    Livin' it...
    K :)