Frankly, I don’t believe it’s even possible that the women who lived before the 20th century could have developed the virtues of patience and humility and not hyperventilating. You see, they lived before the era of cars. Furthermore, Henry Ford’s invention of the automobile—I believe it was just a vast conspiracy to teach women these particular qualities.
I know, because I drive that sort of car.
In all fairness, yes, it’s our family van, but please don’t ask me what make it is—I don’t know these things. All I know is that its quirks are a little too bizarre to be accounted for any other way than via conspiracy theory. A conspiracy makes so much more sense than a bad radiator, don't you think?
The windshield wipers, you see, just happen to require this special touch that involves sitting in the van for an extra sixty seconds (when you’re already sixty seconds late, mind you) and turning the dial to just the right setting, then…bam! toggling it to off just as the wipers reach a 90 degree angle with the hood of the car. It’s harder than parallel parking, and it is for my patience.
And there’s this other thing. Sometimes, you’ll be driving along on one of those beautiful sunny days (we do have them occasionally!), feeling quite superior in the freshly-washed minivan, wearing a snazzy outfit, smiling benevolently at all you see. And suddenly—the windshield wipers start a-swiping. Back and forth, back and forth, in a maniacal frenzy as I duplicate the frenzy trying to stop them. Everyone around looks up at the sky, wondering if that strange green minivan chortling down the road with wipers going at full speed is trying to forecast the weather or something. This is for my humility.
It’s also possible that, one day when I’m driving this car, the turn signals will suddenly cease to exist. And it’s a very good possibility also that when I go to roll down the windows to blushingly duplicate said signals with my arms—the windows won’t roll down. And the radio won’t turn on. And…and…and. This is the not hyperventilating part. But it’s also the learning to laugh at the little inconveniences part.
I have many more tales I could regale you with of the little green van with the mind of its own (personally, I think it must be seeking revenge for all the times I’ve hit the curb while parking). And frankly, I don’t really mind its quirks anymore. It makes life interesting…you never know what to expect when you get in the car…and it’s become the running joke among our family to discover a new quirk in Mr. GreenJeans.
James 1:2-4 has also gained in meaning:“My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.” Mr. GreenJeans is definitely in the “various trials” business, which puts me square in the “testing of my faith” business, which means that no longer are all my adventures due to a vast conspiracy, but a vast Providence.
Therefore, even though I am somewhat of a perfectionist (which translates: I get irritated easily with my own faults and the faults of others and other things that are out of my control.) Anyways…perfectionist…I’ve come to appreciate life in this imperfect environment with cars whose power steering will go out just to make you pray harder and dishwashers that stop working just to make you have a hymn-singing session while you handwash eight people’s dishes and computers that shut down right in the middle of the typing of a school essay just to make you praise God even in having to rewrite the essay. I’ve come to appreciate it so much that I, in fact, feel truly sorry for the ladies who lived one hundred years ago who had no such vast Providence orchestrated to perfect their character. (They had massacres and fires and crop failures and childbirth with no one around for miles, though, so I suppose that makes up for it. I’d personally take Mr. GreenJeans any day.) And I furthermore feel truly sorry for the ladies who are billionaires and can simply buy a new model, a new dishwasher, a new computer. It would be awfully hard to learn character that way. So, out of the goodness of my heart, if there are any billionaires reading, I’m sure my dad wouldn’t mind graciously leasing out Mr. GreenJeans as a bonafide, guaranteed character builder. After all, having to stop along side the road every ten minutes on a hot summer day with the heat at full blast and the hood still steaming is guaranteed to build something in you.
P.S. As Mikaela mentioned before, check back on Monday! The week’s festivities may include (but trust me, are not limited to!) posts every day, some amazing guest posters whom I hope you’ll welcome enthusiastically, several fabulous giveaways, and a special surprise at the end of the week wherein Mikaela and I will get to meet some of you for the first time…I can’t wait!
Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Picture Credit: Jan Tik