No, this is not a self-righteous rant about watching the Super Bowl on Sunday. That’s one altar I’ve never been tempted to worship at. And this post has nothing to do with GID (I can be off topic sometimes, can’t I?). This is my own personal reflection on something that happened to me. But I’d like to start with a fun/lame story from my mission.
Missionaries, as you may well know, tend to be a little goofy. They’re 19 year old kids, and they have endless hours of juvenile fun with scriptures like “Jeshurun waxed fat” and the flying roll (which we imagined was a prophecy of a food fight in the MTC cafeteria). Another favorite message that provided endless amusement comes from 1 Kings 13 (a prophet of Judah turned aside to eat, at the behest of a prophet of Beth-el, but contrary to the Lord’s injunction, and a Lion promptly came and slew him) and 1 Kings 20 (a prophet tells a man to smite him, the man refuses, and a lion summarily slays the man who wouldn’t hit a prophet). The moral of these stories, of course, was “Obey the Lord, or a lion will slay you.” This absurd generalization was immensely amusing to a bunch of young guys who watch no TV and read the scriptures a lot. And for some reason, what happened yesterday made me think of that.
We had spent the weekend with some good friends we will not be seeing again for a while. It was a wonderful weekend—good friends are one of life’s greatest blessings. After our nice visit, we were headed home Sunday afternoon. It’s about a three hour drive, and we left around 5:00. I try to avoid shopping on the Sabbath, so we had duly fueled up Saturday to make sure we had enough gas for Sunday. But around 6:00, we started getting hungry. We were still a good way from home, and we figured it wasn’t fair to make the kids wait, so we stopped for fast food. Then we flipped around and were getting back on the interstate. Just when we were about to get back on, I saw something in the road and didn’t have time to avoid it. We learned later that it was a drive shaft from a tractor trailer. I ran right over it. We were all okay, but it tore up several important parts on the bottom of our van, including the oil pan and the fuel tank. So we had to call a tow truck to come haul our car to the dealership, and we had to call my dad to come pick us up. The roadside assistance folks said the tow truck would be two hours. After waiting two very long hours, I called back to see what was up. They told me that as the tow truck was coming for us, it got a flat tire. So we had to wait another frustrating 30 minutes before it finally showed up. It was a really long night. The kids were cranky, everybody was tired, and we didn’t get home until 11:30 (and my poor dad still had to drive 45 mins. back home). Plus it did at least $2,000 damage to our new-ish van. When we finally got home, my wife wisely pointed out that if we had just packed a few sandwiches from our friends’ house and eaten them en route, we wouldn’t have been on the access road, and wouldn’t have hit the drive shaft.
So the moral of the story is… Keep the Sabbath day holy, or you will hit a drive shaft from a tractor trailer (I know that’s lame, but it would be hilarious if you were 19 and serving in my mission).
As a post script: I’m only half joking. I don’t really think the Lord was “punishing” us for getting Arby’s. But my wife was right that we wouldn’t have hit it if we hadn’t stopped. And even when we’re taking minor detours off the straight and narrow, the Lord sometimes blesses us. We were able to find out, quite by chance, which trucking company had the truck that lost a drive shaft. So hopefully they will cover the repair instead of us having to pay the insurance deductible and take the hit on our premiums.