Sunday, August 7, 2011

Striving to keep it positive

Another week of vacation is almost over. I have quite a mix of feelings. It's a bit of a struggle again to focus on the positive and not get pulled down by some frustration and disappointment. But that is what I need to do and will do.

What triggered it this time (again) is finally tackling something I'd been putting off -- getting new tires and getting the dealership where I bought the car to keep a promise to pay for them. I took the needed action Thursday to confirm the payment, then took the car to Firestone Friday to get the tires. I knew I was headed to a Rangers game in Texas on Saturday and looked forward to a smoother ride. I picked the car up Friday evening and took it for a spin on city streets. All seemed fine.

But when I headed out on Interstate 35 late Saturday morning, I could tell I had a problem. When I accelerated above about 60, the car shook like it was going to fall apart. Now, I was on my way to Texas for the ballgame and didn't really have time to head back to Firestone to get this figured out. I called to make sure it was safe to drive. They seemed to think it would be. So I bounced to Gainesville and then Muenster and then to Arlington and back to Muenster after the game, and back to Norman today. I'll take it back to Firestone tomorrow and insist they make this right.

The thing that is so frustrating to me is that it seems like what should be routine maintenance steps -- whether it be for my car or my health -- so often ends up not being very routine. This mess started when I took my car to the dealership in April 2010 for maintenance work that was somewhat botched. That led to the promise that my next set of tires would be paid for. But figuring out when to get those tires, which tires to get and following through to get them paid for are things I'm not good at. But I finally did it. It was a good feeling, and I was so eager for that smooth ride to Texas. Instead, it was one of the most nerve-wracking ever.

What follows has nothing to do with any of that -- I'm sure the timing was purely coincidental -- but the very next thing I did Thursday after feeling so good about getting the tire arrangements and payment worked out was to brush my teeth. And before I was finished, a big filling near the front had fallen out. Have I mentioned that I may dislike dealing with dentists and doctors even more than dealing with car maintenance, based on the same track record of things never seeming to go smoothly? But what choice do I have? I made an appointment to get it fixed -- even though it will probably mean having to miss some work. (That's a whole other subject I'm striving to feel positive about as vacation nears an end and I go back to working afternoons and nights.)

Some of the thoughts that go through my head with these things include why bother and no wonder I get so frustrated. But all of the negative thoughts just sound like self-pity, I used to spend a lot of time stuck there. Now I work through it more quickly and move on to the next right action and a more positive outlook. Daily Bible reading continues to help guide me and strengthen me. I still don't know why these moments that are just part of life can be so perplexing to me. But I am extremely grateful to God that He somehow manages to keep me moving forward.

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