Friday, October 1, 2010

Weigh-in 55

I had to have some work done on my car this week. And not just an oil change either. In the month of September I've put about $1200 into maintenance, routine and otherwise, on the car.

The key thing for this week, and the biggest chunk of that total amount, was that the car would just about not run at times. For those of you in Charleston you'll understand when I say that I almost didn't make it up the Ravanel bridge from Mount Pleasant Monday afternoon. I was a real popular guy on that up-slope at 25 mph, let me tell you.

So, after that little automotive incident I decided I had to do something about it. Up until then, it had seemed like a minor annoyance that the car rode a little rougher than before and didn't really have the same pep when you hit the gas. But this isn't a high performance machine we're talking about here. It's a Buick Century. You know, an "Old Man Car" as my kids like to say.

So, I took it in to get an O2 sensor replaced. That was what I figured it needed since the last shop said the computer had a code come up for a bad one. And I had already had the transmission serviced so that couldn't be the issue.

Well, during the diagnostic, the guys at the garage (different from the previous shop - that's a whole nuther story) came back with more news than I wanted to hear. The catalytic converter (part of the exhaust system for you non-car folks) was damaged and had stuff clogging it up. That explained the loss of power (severe back pressure on the engine) for sure. The O2 sensor did need to be replaced, and they put a new one in, but the catalytic converter was definitely THE thing causing problems.

Left alone, that problem could have led to severe engine damage that would have, along with possibly stranding me somewhere, cost me a pretty penny or two.

So this week I got to thinking about how often people (meaning ME) get themselves into situations like this with areas of their lives. You know, things were real good at one point but over time there was a gradual decline in power/happiness/intimacy/security/etc. The slight change isn't really enough to notice from day to day so it basically goes un-noticed until it gets pointed out - by someone outside who sees the big difference and not the little changes or, like my car, some thing catastrophic (or almost) happens to wake you up.

Unlike cars, people's lives can't always make a stop at the garage and have the bad stuff patched up in a few hours. No, the things that are usually damaged with people are relationships. And trust me, those are very hard to fix and they typically take a while.

I've been called out a couple of times in the last few weeks (even in the comments on this blog) about how I've let a few relationships gradual decline. And here I'm thinking I can just pop in a new O2 sensor to make it better when, in reality, it's closer to an engine failure than I would like to think...

I don't have any magic I can use or any super profound words for you on this. I just keep going back to John 15 where Jesus talks about "Abiding".

I have loved you even as the Father has loved me. Remain in my love. When you obey my commandments, you remain in my love, just as I obey my Father’s commandments and remain in his love. I have told you these things so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow! This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you. There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you slaves, because a master doesn’t confide in his slaves. Now you are my friends, since I have told you everything the Father told me. You didn’t choose me. I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce lasting fruit, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask for, using my name. This is my command: Love each other. (John 15:9-17, NLT)

That is, spend the time and put in the effort and the relationship will be rewarding. It is about the quantity of time and not just "quality time." You don't create long term, deep relationships an hour a week or with a couple of posts on Facebook.

Nobody said it would be easy. But it is worth it in the end....

The numbers for this week:

The scale stared back at me this morning with


It feels good to have some measurable movement downward again.

And with some new pledges this week the total for "210 in 2010" is now at $224. That kicks in the first set of matching funds so we are at an overall amount of $434.

Just gotta get another $196 in pledges to unlock the next $210 in matches to get us headed toward $1000 for and their great work.

If you want to join the cause, drop me a line in the comments below, send me an email (address is at the top of the sidebar on the right), or find me on facebook or twitter.

Keep those engines running smooth until next time...

Thanks to the morgueFile for cool (and free) photos like the one up at the top...