June 2016


From the title you might think this post will describe physical exercise. Or perhaps the body mechanics of lifting heavy equipment.

Nope. Mechanics here refers to those talented individuals who service our cars at auto repair shops. I have new esteem for these folks since I spent this past Monday morning with several of them!

My morning plan was to drive to the local Pep Boys and replace two front headlight lamps. I chose that type of store since they have a large stock and could repair the lights early in the morning. Great, I thought, I’ll be done by 9 and on my way home!

On the way to the repair, this bright orange light in the speedometer area went on. Hmmm…I know that means something, but what? I knew the light wasn’t for the battery—I learned about that light two months ago—and knew the orange outline didn’t resemble an oil can. By process of elimination, I figured out I was looking at the engine light.

Working hard not to panic, I moved into Action Mode, planning the calls I’d make once I reached the repair shop. I transitioned to Philosophy Mode—it’s the car, it’s not me or a member of my family. That thought process brought me to Prayer Mode—Please G-d, make this something really simple and inexpensive! Thank You!

When I got to the Boys (as Pep Boys employees call themselves), they told me they couldn’t do the repair. While the Boys worked on the headlights, I worked on calling my mechanic. We arranged that I’d bring my car to his shop by 9:30. The headlight bulb replacement took a bit longer, which turned out to work in my favor. I had time to make some calls, and decided to call my friend in Israel. I stood in a lot in Los Angeles speaking with her in her home in central Israel—from my cell phone! The wonders of technology!

Once the Boys finished, I headed to my mechanic’s shop. Thankfully, no more dashboard lights lit up! The mechanic discovered that there was an evaporation problem, a leak somewhere. Consequently, he had to give the car a complete physical.

I left the mechanic-doctor to his work and headed over to the local coffee shop. I got some exercise as a result. Since I had notebooks, pens, pencils, and digital devices with me, I kept myself productively busy. And bonus—I had a gift card for the coffee shop—so I could treat myself to free refreshments!

The mechanic-doctor called to report his final diagnosis. The leak was…drum roll…from the broken seal on the gas cap! All other engine-related items were fine. A simple and inexpensive repair.

My prayers aren’t always answered so clearly and quickly. I hope I didn’t cash in all my chips this time, as I whispered a prayer of gratitude.

Spending Monday morning at the mechanics’ shops was a minor inconvenience that taught me to look at the big picture.

Gratitude—it was daytime, repair places were close to home, able mechanics, friends, and the light went on while I was already on the way to a repair shop.

Perspective—I’m fine, my family is fine, it’s only a car. A car is a machine whose parts wear out. Some parts need repair and some need to be replaced.

♦Be prepared—I had my cell phone, notebooks, pens, money for the repair, and even a gift card!

 

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Packing for a Trip

Sandy Lim discusses on-point packing tips. Use layered clothing, go digital, and “Buy what you need when you get there.” Great stuff! Like Sandy, I prefer to pack light when I travel.

When I prepare for a trip, I prioritize what goes into that suitcase and hopefully I pack what’s important to me. Sometimes, like Sandy, “I’ve gone on two-day trips with a week’s worth of clothes and shoes I didn’t end up wearing.” I didn’t think carefully about what I needed. I didn’t always pack light.

Life’s Suitcase

On life’s journey, I also pack a suitcase. This one, though, isn’t a physical item that contains things. Instead of clothes, books, and toiletries, the Life Suitcase contains experiences and feelings. I’m still in charge of what I pack; yet like the overstuffed weekender, I may not prioritize the contents. I pack contents as they come my way, haphazardly tossing them into the case. Do they fit? I don’t stop to think. Do I need these for this trip? I don’t think about that either.

And suddenly, or so it seemed, I discovered I lugged around a heavy steamer trunk. One day I stopped because I simply couldn’t lug that cumbersome trunk another step.

  • What have I got in here?
  • What do I really need?

Packing Life’s Suitcase

As I evaluated and prioritized the contents, I began to take charge of what’s inside the Life Suitcase. I tossed what I no longer needed. I recycled what I could. And I ended up with only what’s important to me for my journey. Instead of that weighty steamer trunk, I have a sleek, light-weight case. My suitcases now—physical and virtual—accurately reflects what I need for the trip.

So…

Is it time for a suitcase inventory? What’s in your suitcase?