On Saturday, after a routine day full of ministerial errands, I was startled to find an extra large dent on the driver’s side of my car, which I will refer to as the Ministerial Life mobile. For those of you who know me personally, you know that my car is integral to my overall existence. I have been the primary driver within my family and circle of friends since I got my driver’s license years ago. In addition, I live in a small suburban township where cars are a necessity. As a result, I was extremely annoyed when I realized that someone had crashed into my car while it was parked and then drove away like nothing happened.
In all honesty, I was already in a pretty bad mood on Saturday before I noticed the dent on the Ministerial Life mobile. I had just found out on the previous night that my brother and I had reached a major roadblock in our efforts to take care of our mentally ill father. Then, a Skype call with my younger brother in the ministry made me realize that I still had an interest in attending law school in spite of my overall desire to finish with my education as soon as possible. (Yes, that means I’m now investigating dual degree programs at my university even though I really want my life to begin.) On top of that, there was still a lot of general tension in my congregation that was only getting worse as we prepared for Sunday’s ordination of our first deacon.
My overall bad mood is probably how I managed to go to the gym, Costco, and my mom’s house before I actually noticed the dent. Needless to say, my call to my insurance company was interesting. I couldn’t tell them if the accident had taken place near my apartment, near the gym, or at Costco because I somehow managed not to look at the rear side panel of the driver’s side of my car until I stood on my mom’s patio that evening. Thankfully, they were pretty understanding about it and scheduled an appointment for me at a nearby body shop for yesterday.
Things went pretty smoothly. I was in and out of the body shop with my rental car within 30 minutes. I had almost forgotten how angry I was about the situation because I was enjoying driving my rental car around so much. Then I received a phone call from the body shop with my estimate. Apparently, the coward who ran off instead of taking responsibility for his or her actions managed to cause almost $2200 in damage to the Ministerial Life mobile. When I managed to stop fuming, I became extra thankful that I never raised my deductible to $1000.
While this situation ultimately had a happy ending because I had good auto insurance, it did make me think about how often we as people have to suffer the consequences from someone else’s irresponsible actions. I have a good friend who has had to go through years of plastic surgery to reconstruct her face after a drunk driver drove the wrong way down the highway and hit the car that she was sleeping in. She credits her faith in God for getting her through it. A few weeks ago, another good friend of mine and her grandmother were hospitalized after a horrific car accident where the other driver attempted to flee the scene. Days later, they both were able to ask for prayer for the man who hit their car.
I have another good friend whose mentally disabled brother regularly blows through their family’s money. His mother struggles to make ends meet due to her extremely low income so he serves as the family’s primary breadwinner. His brother’s irresponsibility does bother him from time to time. Indeed, my friend’s financial ties with his family have been a major point of contention in his romantic relationships. At the same time, he has accepted the fact that his family’s overall chance for survival rests in his hands.
I also think about my brother whose reputation has severely been tarnished in spite of his efforts to keep our father’s assets secure. My brother put his life on hold for the past 4 years and even experienced great financial strain just to protect our father whose mental state has rendered him incredibly irresponsible. Nonetheless, my father found a way to blame my brother for his own bad decisions. Now my brother is struggling financially and trying to pick up the pieces of his broken reputation and his fractured relationship with our father. In spite of it all, he still feels his efforts to protect our father were worthwhile.
In the end, it appears that we will always have to deal with irresponsible people in this life. We just need to be strong enough not to allow the consequences of their actions to keep us from reaching our goals. As for me, I’m thankful that the Ministerial Life mobile’s damage was covered by my insurance policy and did not lead to any real interruption in my life. For now, I’ll just try my best to reflect on the positives like the fact that I get a chance to go on an extended testdrive of a potential candidate for the next Ministerial Life mobile. Sure I don’t have the money for a new car yet, but I can always dream.