I was rolling my 15-passenger Ford E-350 “Sweet Ride” into the parking lot of a grocery store the other day, with all my seven children, when I thought, I love my job.
Here I am, on a lovely summer day, just picking up a few necessities–wine, beer, cheese, and olives–on my way to a friend’s house for iced coffee and a chat on her shady deck. I was looking forward to our boys shooting each other with laser guns, our girls braiding each other’s hair, and the babies toddling in the grass.
Motherhood is glorious, and God is good.
Back to the grocery store and my van… I left the children in the van listening to The House on Pooh Corner and ran in and then out with my necessities. By the time I returned, the van had up and died. It wouldn’t even turn over.
Ah, well. I had a choice at this point. I could cry and lament my bad luck or I could laugh it off and call my husband at work. I chose the latter.
Since it was hot out, I had firstly to remove all the children from the sweltering van and direct them to some grass by the highway. They weren’t thrilled about this, but they did dutifully stand there and pray to St. Joseph for the van to somehow miraculously start, for they desperately wanted to play with their friends.
While on the phone with my husband, he wanted me to try to fix it myself. Right! I know nothing about vehicles, let alone crippled, 15-passengers vans. I did figure out how to open the hood, however, and I was proud of myself for this feat. Then he had me find the battery, which I also located, I think.
Things quickly turned downhill when he next directed me to find a special tool that he kept in the side door of the van and wanted me to adjust some bolt or other on the battery. Or at least I think it was on the battery. I’m not sure, for I never did find the tool or understand what in the world he meant.
Nothing would do, but that he would have to come. In the meantime, I called my friend, who thankfully lived nearby and asked if she might come get the children? Of course. This bit of information quickly lifted the morale of the children, and indeed, they were speedily rescued, packed in, and whisked away in her sleek minivan to summer bliss and frivolity with nary a care.
I alone remained, standing in the shade of our forsaken van, contemplating my plight.
I stared at the car next to me. In it sat a shaggy-looking man smoking his cigs. He watched the whole show and never once offered his assistance. A kind old woman did offer hers, however. May God bless her kindness. I waved her on.
The sweat trickled down my neck. I thought about cracking a beer, for this is the state of Wisconsin after all, but I didn’t want to open the cooler for fear of warming those precious cheeses.
I watched a giant motorhome amble into the parking lot. I scratched a mosquito bite.
Then I remembered my tiny Pocket Psalms. I reached into my purse and randomly opened to Psalm 28 and read it aloud to the passing clouds.
In due time, the Man of My Dreams appeared. He immediately located the mysterious tool–a wrench apparently–and proceeded to wiggle things around. He loosened and tightened this and that. Then, he got out the jumper cables and saved the day.
The van roared to a start, and Psalm 28 rang in my ears, the God of majesty hath thundered!
I sweetly thanked my Knight in Shining Armor and drove straight to my friend’s house for a peaceful afternoon.