The patience of a 1400


I was late for a meeting today. It’s because I underestimated how slow my dad’s Nissan 1400 pickup truck is.

Just the other day I labeled him as “patience tester”. Stubborn, opinionated and slow. Probably came across my way to teach me patience; that life doesn’t have to be one big rush and that there is actually a lot of enjoyment to be found in the smaller things in life… like in the van itself.

I could hardly believe it when I got behind the steering wheel – which is not power steering – this morning. I quite like the old bow. Why I can’t say. He is hot and the only air cooling is an open window. Still, I enjoy the (hot) wind in my hair and the pace at which it comes on.

So far this year has been truly disastrous for me. Builders and their ailments, a drain that backs up in my basement and ruins my furniture and other things… a relationship that doesn’t work out and a friendship that crumbles… a new school year and all the expenses that come with it… more damage to the house… more a friendship that crumbles… the list goes on and on…

One of the heaviest things was my car. After an accident with a gate I handed him over to the capable hands of the panel beater this week. For someone as independent as me, it was difficult. Fortunately, Grandfather (my father, but proud grandfather of 9 grandchildren) has more than one vehicle. I then asked for the small truck. Actually, I was hoping he would take pity on me and offer me the big bakkie, but that didn’t happen… So there I go, well educated in the art of driving this exceptional vehicle.

I’m going to be honest, it was hard. I felt like I was floating in the basement with the sewage, on the plain of despondency where no way out beckons and the sun’s rise is swallowed up by deep dark clouds.

The domestic disasters did not want to diminish. The last straw was when the children’s shower head spilled and fell on my head. I had to shower in their bathroom because my own shower has a hole somewhere that draws moisture into the wooden floors. That afternoon, the van also decided not to take me home. The power at work was out. The van’s power was off, and my own power flowed uncontrollably in torrents from my eyes. The Lord and his peace just felt so far away…

And suddenly, as if out of nowhere, I remember the words of my good friend and mentor: don’t look down when you fly. For months I struggled to just surrender myself and my life. I prayed but I just couldn’t trust. And in that moment I realized something: my problems, all the difficulties and all the pain, lie beneath me. And I fly I have to look up because that’s where the solutions lie; this is where my future lies and this is where I will find peace. God has the rest.

And suddenly, without warning, that peace descended upon me. It surrounded my being and seeped into my heart. For the first time this year, literally, I could breathe. I was free. I suddenly trusted again and I suddenly just knew that everything would be okay.

The next morning I started the Nissan about ten minutes before we had to drive to school so that the battery could charge a bit. And quietly we sugared to school. And after that I worked well. And even in the afternoon that friendship restores.

Life suddenly feels calmer. I no longer carry the worries and difficulties myself. I trust in the promises of God. I focus on the future He has given me. I surrendered. And I am patient.

My car is coming back next week. Now, just after I accepted the Nissan and its cams. I became quite attached to the flat car with its hot seat and handbrake that rubbed the skin off my knuckles. He taught me that everything will fall into place at the right time and at the right pace, and that you can truly live on grace.