Life sometimes throws you a curve ball, like the time my car disappeared. I attended college in a city that practiced the dreaded Snow Emergency Parking Procedure. Let me back track a little so you get a full picture.
An unexpected patch of January ice was my ticket to an intersection cookie and a slide into a country ditch. As if trying to explain getting knocked out in an accident with only myself in it wasn’t enough, I managed to get a whopper of a concussion.
College doesn’t stop for concussions, so I drove my beat up dodge with a Flinstone hole under the floormat back to college and parked on the street. After all, what college kid has money for a parking ramp?
After class, I promptly took a nap…and slept for twelve hours straight, during which time our lovely northern city got a beastly twelve inches of snow.
During the early morning hours, while I was still sleeping off my concussion, a dedicated Police Officer was out enforcing the Snow Emergency Parking Restrictions. Yes, you guessed it, my car that was now dented and covered in a foot of snow, sported a new parking ticket under the windshield.
“You Got A Parking Ticket? Gasp!”
Yes, all of you perfect people out there, I got a parking ticket. By the time I came down to move my car, I was a grumbling. Of all the rotten days to have a snow emergency. As if the snow fell just to annoy me.
I know you have never thought the world was against you before, but stick with me…it gets crazier.
I scraped enough snow off of my car to move it one block away on the right side of the street. Couldn’t afford any more tickets. I snatched the ticket off of my windshield and dashed to class.
A few hours later, I crossed the street in a sky way that overlooked where my car was parked. All of the cars were lined up perfectly in a row. Except mine. The spot where my car had been parked was empty. All of those around it, remained.
At this point I was pretty sure my concussion was a grave matter. After all, whose car just disappears in the middle of a block full of cars? And who would want my rust bucket of a dented, foot of snow covered car with a special Flinstone hole in the floor covered only by a floor mat?
There was only one explanation. I had lost my mind.
First, I got on the phone with the impound lot to make sure they hadn’t towed my car accidentally. They assured me they hadn’t and that I should call the police to report the car stolen.
If my car was stolen, I was quite sure they were going to bring it back, but I wanted to get home over the weekend which started in approximately two hours. I called the police.
The Police were skeptical, can’t say I blame them. They recommended calling the towing company that towed for the city in case my car was towed, but not logged yet. I called the tow company, no car.
Concussion or not, I was starting to feel dizzy. A car didn’t just vanish without being stolen.
One theory the tow company had was that there was a theft operation with a tow truck stealing cars, because no one would suspect them during a snow emergency. Like they would steal my car, when there were lots of perfectly undented cars without holes in the driver side floor parked a few spots from mine.
I waited till the next morning and called the impound lot again, just to double check. They said they had my car. I was elated and hung up without asking for more details. I called them back and they promptly informed me that they didn’t have my car. Which was it?
It was like auditioning for the Three Stooges, only I was a solo act. Finally, the third day after many phone calls and lots of frustration, my car was found in the impound lot. I could have it back if I paid $389, the initial towing fee, plus additional for each day it sat there.
But why? I was parked in the right place. You didn’t have my car, but you did have my car. I was seeing red! I headed to the impound lot on a mission. Bail my car out for pocket lint.
Turns out, the impound lot has no say over releasing your car without the money. Oh no, I would have to appeal to an officer at a department downtown.
Wasting my chances to skip class, I sat with my dad at a downtown office…for two hours. All of the people coming out of the office looked whipped, not a smile to be found. But I was going to be different.
My turn finally came. I entered the office and defended my case. I got the ticket revoked(the second one they tried to pin on me) and my car bailed out for free.
All the while thinking, I was as unlucky as a turkey on Thanksgiving. Why did all of this have to happen?
Then a little verse hit me right between the eyes.
“Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you, in Christ Jesus.”
1 Thessalonians 5:18
I really had so much to be thankful for:
*I didn’t die in a car crash like so many others.
*I had a car in the first place, a beater sure, but I didn’t have to walk everywhere.
*I had a Dad who would do anything to help me.
*I got my car back, it wasn’t actually stolen.
Sometimes it is hard to be thankful when we hit life’s challenges, especially when it feels like more than our share. But we really have so much to be thankful for. Laura Story has a beautiful song about this called “Blessings.” You can listen at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1CSVqHcdhXQ .
What are you thankful for?