Yesterday, as I was getting in my van to go to our DeLand Special Gathering (SpG) program, I noticed the flat on the rear, driver-side tire. I’d been working all morning in and around the vehicle; but somehow I had not seen the offending tire. Fortunately, I have another car I can use. However, I saw again the necessity of back-up plans when you are faced with an emergency situation.
I have AAA roadside assistance. Yet, that would do me no good in this case. I was ready to leave for my program. By the time the mechanic arrived and replaced the tire, I would be much too late. (My vehicle’s spare is located under the front of the car and it takes a certified mechanical genius to even get it out from its obscure, hiding place.)
Because of the 4th of July holiday, all of our SpG staff are out-of-town. We are a ministry within the mentally challenged community. Basically, we function much like a community-wide Christian youth group. Our purpose is evangelism and discipleship. I reloaded my other car with the necessities for an indoor picnic planned in DeLand and left within my alloted time.
All during the day, I was thinking how often in our lives, these types of min-emergencies happen. Too often we aren’t able to cope because of a variety of reasons. Here are some hints that may make this type of situation easier when you are faced with it.
1. Allow time for the worst to happen.
2. Therefore, begin early.
3. Plan to arrive at your destination early. People who are constantly late, plan to arrive on time. People who are almost never late, plan to arrive early.
4. I usually plan to be at a program 90 minutes early. If there is nothing that goes wrong, you have time to breathe and reflect. If there is a program bletch, you have time to fix it.
5. Be willing to accept the “quick fix.” Not everything will be settled to your satisfaction in a time of mishaps and misadventures.
6. ”OK” is better than nothing. At times, I’ve been accused of being a perfectionist, until something goes wrong. Then people realize that I don’t strive for “perfect” at all. When the fat catches on fire, I revert back to my “normal mode.” I strongly believe that it’s important to use what you have and do the best you can with what you got.
5. Rely on your past experiences and preparation. Each time there is an emergency make a mental note of what worked and what didn’t work.
6. Learn from the past problems. Dissect the past and examine how you can do things better.
7. Learn who you can rely on and who won’t be there when someone is needed. In every emergency situation, you need people who are dependable.
One day I realized that I’m a widow who spends a great deal of time on the road. Even though I have many people in our community who treat me as though I’m their family, I knew how unfair it would be to totally depend on the goodwill of my friends and colleagues. When I got an offer in the mail for AAA, I sat down and filled out the application. I’ve used the service three times in the past 9 months. It is a great relief to know that there is a back up plan.
This week as I’ve been listening to the personal letters of Paul to his good friends, Timothy and Titus, I was struck by the mundane preparations they contain. ”Bring my books and Scriptures. I need a coat,” Paul said. Not very spiritual or is God interested in every single part of our lives?
The flat tire was fixed early this morning. Like it or not, these awkward situations are part of the business of ministry. They can destroy your day forcing you to close your program or they can become part of your learning process.