Lessons Learned From a Dinging Car

originally in Word for Today

My family is gloriously accustomed to not having a car payment, and are willing to put up with some interesting quirks of the vehicles to maintain that status. The one where my car will start and then die is less amusing than some, but so far it's been fairly harmless.

Years ago I had a vehicle with a particularly amusing quirk. Some sort of sensor had been thrown and after you started the car and all of the other dinging, beeping, buzzing, and bells and whistles shut off the car would start dinging. Loudly. Five sets of five dings, with about 15 seconds between sets. It originally didn't bother me too much, but started the day before we took a short trip.

On this trip we learned that sometimes after an hour or so the car would burst forth with another 25 dings, grieving that it was running so long without dinging. Neither my husband nor I really enjoy repetitive loud noises, but my husband really did not enjoy the new feature of the car. So I decided that it's all in your attitude about the dings. The dings are simply our car reminding us, "I have served you well for many years. Do NOT take me for granted. Just a reminder..."

Troy didn't really appreciate my over-the-top rosy outlook, either. I decided that the dings could be my reminder to think of 5 things I'm thankful for. I shared this new philosophy and insight on the way to church one Sunday morning, shouting my idea to the kids over the dinging and Troy's yelling at the dinging. I proceeded to list things I was thankful for as the car dinged away.

I continued to be thankful as my car dinged away. On my errand day I had opportunity to be ultra-thankful when I started and stopped the car at least 5 times, giving me no fewer than 25 opportunities to be thankful (and 125 dings in my ear, if you're doing the math). That particular day not much went right, though.

Later in the evening, quite unhappy about getting back out of the house on a rainy cold night, the kids and I piled into the car. As the car began dinging, Riley asked, "Mom, what are you thankful for?" I HAD come up with 25 things earlier in the day -- but I was completely out. I wanted to shout, "NOTHING!!! I am not thankful for one darn thing in this day!!!!" Realizing that wouldn't be a very good example, I simply said, "Riley, I've got nothing."

He began, "I'm thankful for a warm car!!" Bless his sweet little heart. Next ding was Ashley's turn, "I'm thankful I have Expedition 56 (new group at church for 5th and 6th graders)." And away we went, thankful for our wonderful, blessed lives, in our blessing of a quirky vehicle reminding us to be thankful.

The dinging car is long gone now. The kids are older now and likely wouldn’t play along with their crazy mother on such a silly task to simply distract ourselves from the fact that our car was falling slap apart. But I’m thankful for the Lord’s provision of a vehicle that worked, and even of a noisy reminder that it didn’t have to work. Sometimes it would be good for alarms to go off periodically to remind me to be grateful for all the things in my life.

“give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18

1 comment:

Scott F said...

We have the same dinging game! Only the dinging is sweet Jenna's whining. Every time she whines or complains, we make her stop and name 5 things she actually is grateful for to make up for whatever she is complaining about. We are hoping she will tire of it and stop dinging.

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