Facing Hilarious Bad News. Marriage Bliss, 13

Look at all these pine cones that were hindering my stick shift!

This is not solely for newly weds, but also for anyone else!

"Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." (Jas 1:2-4, NIV2)

"A happy heart makes the face cheerful, but heartache crushes the spirit." (Prov 15:13, NIV2)

After work this week, I stepped into my car as normal to drive back home; however, no matter what I did, the stick shift refused to budge. Weird! What was I supposed to do?

I called the Volkswagen dealer to see if they could help me. They gave me some pointers, but in the end, they concluded that there was a possibility the transmission was shot. Not what you want to hear at any time, but especially not when your car is only eight months old! In the end, they sent me a tow truck that would be arriving within the next 45 minutes.

It was raining, and my workplace was now closed. It would have been easy for me to fret, like I did in my younger years. Instead, I concluded that this was a blessing. I was behind in writing down what my Heavenly Father had done for me these last couple of weeks, so I wrote and wrote, and the time flew as if I was on a supersonic fighter plane.

When I finished, I had only ten minutes left to wait for the tow truck. Not too bad! Then my phone rang and someone from the tow truck company told me: "Sir, the tow truck is with your car." I was a bit puzzled as I was in my car, and there was no tow truck in sight. I started to laugh then. "It must be a tiny tow truck, because I can't see it."

"Where are you, sir?"

"In my car!"

You could tell she was confused. When the tow truck finally showed up, I learned it had gone to a different parking place.

The driver was super nice and quite professional. He told me, however, that this was the fourth time he had towed a Volkswagen in the last 6 months. "You buy a new car so that you won't have technical problems, but Volkswagen certainly doesn't know how to make stick shifts!"

Interestingly enough, that dampened my mood. "Really! This is completely absurd! Why would they do such a thing!" Still I decided to remain positive.

He dropped me off at home, which was kind, because otherwise I would have found myself stranded at the car dealer, with no ride back home. The next day I received the diagnoses: "The culprit was squirrels!"


Apparently they had hidden about 25 huge pine cones in the vicinity of my transmission. The service department at the VW dealership even saved me the bag full of pine cones! I started to laugh, and I couldn't help but share this with many of my colleagues and students. The next day I even brought the bag of pine cones to work: all 142$ worth of them!

I wondered if the other 3 Volkswagens that had been towed faced the same problem. The thought was truly hilarious.

My wife, too, got a kick out of the news: "Squirrels? Really?" And she, too, brought the bag to her workplace to share the story.

It would have been easy to focus on the negative. After all, I had lost two hours of time, then I had to go about 50 kms the next day to retrieve my car. I could go on and on, but all I would have succeeded in doing so is making everyone in my vicinity miserable. No way!

Truly, I had fun waiting for that tow truck. I caught up on all my devotionals, the tow truck driver was nice, and we had a good time in the cab. However, the most hilarious part was when I found out about the origin of my troubles: Squirrels! That was way too funny!

In marriage, we will face adversity. We will either dwell on the negative and make everyone, including our spouse, feel miserable, or we will dwell on the positive side and take our trials with a smile. One will drive us apart, the other will bring us closer than ever. What would we prefer?

By the way, I park my car on the street now, far away from these trees that have pine cones! You can have my spot at the parking lot, if you like!

Rob Chaffart

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