After a great day at church, I was driving a friend of the family home when something unexpected happened–my car started smoking. I managed to get off the expressway pretty quickly and call some of my cousins who could drive our family friend the rest of the way to her apartment on the other side of the city while I figured out how to get my car back to my mechanic’s shop. One of my cousins elected to stay with me once she realized that I had made the decision to drive the car instead of calling AAA. (For the record, I’m not irresponsible. In spite of the car’s smoking, I know enough about cars to know that it wasn’t overheating.)
The car worked well enough for me to drive it back to my mom’s neighborhood on the local roads, but it turned off on its own while I was attempting to park behind the mechanic’s building. A few minutes later, another one of my cousins picked us up from the Burger King that shares a parking lot with the repair shop to drive me back to my apartment. The conversation between the three of us went something like this:
“We were praying all the way back,” cousin 1 said, “God made sure that car got us all the way back to the shop before it turned off.”
“But it’s really not looking good,” I added, “Smoking is one thing, but the car just completely turned off on me with the check engine light on. I know I said I only needed this car to work for two years, but that was when I though I would have graduated from Temple in May. I guess the car decided my transfer from Temple wasn’t its problem.”
We all laughed for a few seconds.
“Well, the car always was ornery,” cousin 2 said, “It waited until I didn’t have any payments left on it to break down on me the first time. That was five years.” That’s right. The Ministerial Life mobile previously belonged to my cousin/pastor. He gave it to me after upgrading to a minivan. He knew that I was looking for another car so my mom would have something to drive. Ironically, the minute I gave my mom my old car, it broke down. I guess ornery cars run in the family. (I gave her the money to get it fixed several times, but she’s perfectly content with me driving her everywhere.)
Looking back over the events of the day, I realized how fortunate I am to come from such a supportive family. There was never any question or complaint from my relatives when I needed their help. (One even paid to get the car out of the shop for me because he knew how much our family relies on my car.) As for the Ministerial Life mobile, it wasn’t on its last leg. In fact, the mechanic was a bit amused when he told me what was wrong with it.
“You’re not going to believe this,” he said during his phone call.
“What’s wrong with it?” I asked thinking he was about to tell me that I should pool my resources and head out to car dealerships.
“Your air conditioner compressor broke,” he replied.
I was confused. Air conditioner compressors usually do not cause cars to stop working. I gave him the clearance to fix what needed to be fixed, but I still had some more questions for him when I got there to pick up the car a few hours later. (I had already figured out that the fluid leaking from the air conditioner is what had caused the illusion of smoke.)
“When your air conditioner compressor broke, it caused the car to blow a fuse. That’s why it turned off on you like that,” he explained.
“Is that normal?” I asked. At that moment, the mechanic I was talking to went to get the guy who had actually fixed my car to answer the question.
“No,” mechanic #2 replied, “It’s just something about your generation Taurus.”
“So, it’s a design flaw?” I asked.
“Exactly,” he replied.
In the end, the Ministerial Life mobile drove off the repair shop’s lot like nothing had ever been wrong with it. God definitely used the experience to remind me how blessed I am to have such a strong family. Sure they can get on my nerves at times, but I know I can always count on them just like they know they can always count on me. In the mean time, I am starting a new fund for the next Ministerial Life mobile so that I’m never caught off guard like this again.