Fixing Our Flats

Every now and then my husband comes out with some simple yet profoundly wise illustration that truly impacts me… and a lot of others as well! Such is the story of the flat tire…

A family is driving down the road on a gorgeous spring day (yes, hopefully we’ll get one of those soon:-). All of a sudden they recognize that there is something wrong. Dad, who is driving pulls over to the side of the road and everyone piles out of the car. Yep… there it is… a flat tire… flat as a pancake!  A metal spike is sticking out, obviously the culprit.

There is a collective moan that erupts from the whole gang. This is certainly not a welcome interruption. Mom speaks first and addresses Dad. “Oh no, look at that! Didn’t you see that thing on the road? You know if you would be a more careful driver, you probably would have seen it and you could have avoided it. Now our day is spoiled.”

Teenage son, coming to the defense of his father shoots back with, “Yeah, well Mom if you wouldn’t always be yakking at Dad and criticizing him, maybe he could keep his mind on his driving and maybe then he would have seen the nail!”

Little sister chimes in with yet another perspective and lights into her brother, “Well, if you wouldn’t have made us late in the first place, maybe we would have been past this spot before the nail even landed here!”

Then erupts a 30-minute session of finger-pointing, and bickering. Tempers flare, nasty words are spoken and everyone feels miserable.

Meanwhile, the tire remains unaddressed and still flat as a pancake.

The squabbling continues. Every family member weighs in on who caused the problem, why it happened and how frustrated they are about the inconvenience. But NO ONE suggests that they open the trunk, get out the jack and actually work together to change the tire.

How absurdly foolish for a group of people to see the problem but fail to do anything about it! Yet, I routinely meet such folks and would have to confess there have been times when I’ve reacted the same way. In life, it is inevitable that we will experience “a flat” of some kind… some sort of dysfunction or disagreement that stops us from moving forward toward greater love and unity. Instead of surveying the problem quickly and rallying as a team to fix it, we let time roll by while we wallow in our misery and play the blame game, sometimes for days or weeks on end.

I’m so grateful to be married to a “fix-it” kind of guy. If something’s broke, John is quick to grab tools and get to work. Whether it’s a broken gadget, or a broken relationship, he sees little value in just fussing about the problem. It makes most sense to him to figure out what can be done to repair “the flat” and get moving again. What a truly wise guy! We would all benefit from following that example…  not bemoaning our tough situations… instead choosing to better them.

And even if we feel poorly-equipped to solve our personal or relationship problems, there’s really no excuse for getting stuck in them. As Christians, we have a Master Mechanic who journeys through life with us and is always willing to help us, no matter what challenge we’re facing.

Lord, I want to spend less time focusing on and fuming about my problems, and more time fixing them with Your help! When I want to blame people or circumstances, help me keep my mouth shut. And when I just want to stare at “the flat” and whimper about it, please point me to the jack. Life’s too precious and too short than to spend it stuck by the side of the road. I want to “fix my flats” fast and get cruising again… with You and a very smart husband by my side!