Saturday I made one last stop downtown (Bethune) on my errand run (probably to buy a couple beers at the corner store. They sell expired beer for 50 cents per can in whatever variety has recently expired, so I sometimes pick up a can or two on my way home). When I got back in the car, it wouldn't start. I wasn't too surprised: this car stalls frequently, needs a couple gallons of water in the radiator every 70-100 miles, and I was told by my mechanic that someday it would just never start again. I was just grateful that it didn't die somewhere out on Horton-Rollins Road at 4:00 AM while doing the newspaper route.
Anyway, back to the story....I opened the hood and the belt which drives the AC and maybe?? something else way down in there was missing. It was broken and lying down below. When I picked it up, parts crumpled in my hand like stale cake. Well, I thought, I can replace a belt....
As an aside, I should be a whiz at car engines, but am not. I took Naval Engineering in college which explains how most ship engines work, but car engines never interested me. I change my own oil, can flush a radiator (whooped de do, huh) , and even helped my father-in-law replace an alternator once. I can follow directions in a book (usually) flawlessly. But diagnosis and complicated repairs intimidate me in cars-which don't in other areas (plumbing, electricity, etc.)
So I replaced the belt Monday morning after the car had sat all weekend at the convenient store. I did have to buy a 15mm socket. My set had 18 mm and 14 mm, but nothing in between. Half the engine was in English sizes, but the bolts to loosen the pulley I had to work on was in metric-go figure. When I put the new belt on, I knew it wasn't as tight as it had been before. But I was hoping it was tight enough to get going, and maybe my mechanic down the street could tighten it without costing me an arm and a leg.
Wishful thinking, the whole thing. The car didn't start.
Went to visit my mechanic: "Well that belt has nothing to do with the car starting." (Duh, the AC unit? What was I thinking?) Here I was so proud to replace the belt without even thinking whether this could possibly be the problem.
Current status on the car?: really unimportant, we are still trying to figure out the best way to go in 'fixing' the car. The point is more of a point of pride. Sometimes you want to show people (or even yourself) that you know what is going on.
Or more importantly, if I translate this experience to my spiritual life, how often do we stop to think about root causes instead of just trying to put out whatever fire is infront of us. I think prayer life is the key (not to fixing the car). We need to slow down and bring our struggles before God instead of deciding to fix everything ourselves as it presents itself. It is about realizing that wherever we are today, God has a purpose for us being there, and we need to rely more on Him.