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Patience and Gratitude

February 18, 2016

“Take full account of the excellencies which you possess, and in gratitude remember how you would hanker after them, if you had them not.” Marcus Aurelius

This quote from ancient Rome is a good reminder for all of us.  I recently had a small surgery done on my shoulder for skin cancer.  I dropped my car at the shop at the same time for some quirk that caused it to not be “ready” for emissions testing.  I expected to be personally out of action for a couple of days so the missing car would be no inconvenience to me during that time.  Indeed the wound on my shoulder healed quickly and stopped hurting after two days.  The car spent the entire week at the shop. I had to use it over the weekend, so I picked it up on Friday afternoon.  I paid a $400 bill for the analysis, but the car was not cured of the unready state.  I was to do the drive cycle again and bring it in on Monday (the deadline from the state to register the car) to test the readiness.  It failed!!!! I sat at the mechanic’s office for 2 hours while the test was done only to learn that I had to try that drive cycle one more time to heal the problem.

Modern cars have electronic brains that record all the data about their lives.  My car had simply lost it’s mind.  We had replaced the oil cover with a non factory part, and that was all it took for this car to go totally  psychotic on me.  The mechanic discovered the issue and replaced the cap but before the car will resume normal function it must be taken through a “drive cycle”.  This tedious and very specific way of driving at certain intervals using specific speeds jump starts the thinking mind of the car.  I had never heard of this thing before and felt very put out that I had to pay that big bill and still do this drive cycle several times without success.  Fortunately for me, when I drove up the freeway to Pinal County on Monday and returned to the emissions testing station the car finally passed the test without incident.

This entire experience pointed out to me how delicate my little patience system is.  I lost it entirely when the car cost so much to repair and was not really repaired.  Loosing my cool at the mechanic’s office on Monday I had to focus on my breathing and tell myself that my issue did not compare to most tragedies occurring at the same time. Driving up and down the freeway for the fifth time I reminded myself that many people would be very happy to trade places with me and my situation.  There I was feeling very put upon because I had to repeat this tedious process to comply with regulations and register my car.  Alone with my crazy thoughts I came to the conclusion that my irritation sensors were way to sensitive to bothersome problems.  I reminded myself that:

  • I own a big fancy car that almost always serves me very well
  • I have a life of leisure and fun with very few interruptions
  • I own my home and have never been in debt for a minute of my life
  • I share my home with a loving, honest partner with a good sense of humor
  • I now have Medicare and a fabulous primary care doctor near home
  • I am not a Syrian refugee or a homeless American military veteran
  • I have a strong healthy body able to easily recover from my surgery

This list could go on forever.  I possess so many excellencies that I would hanker after if I had them not.  Even Marcus Aurelius was not, in certain ways, as well off as I am now.  He may have been a Roman Emperor, but he didn’t have a car.  I hope this experience has reset the sensors of my car’s brian as well as my own.  Life may not always be a bowl of cherries, but we must be patient and appreciative of the advantages we are given.


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I have a plug in hybrid so rarely use the gas engine. It needed an update to pass emissions. But I didn’t drive it enough gasoline mode enough and it didn’t pass when I brought it back. Three times. I finally drove it to Cape Cod and back (300 miles round trip) mostly on petrol and it passed. I had to get a temp inspection sticker since it took a month… So I get it 😉

Liked by 1 person


February 18, 2016

Now I feel really lucky, Trent.


Pamela Morse

February 18, 2016

You have such patience Pam! That’s a major inconvenience. I understand how you felt and what it took to do it one more time. I love how you came up with the reasoning to regain calm and centering.

Liked by 1 person

Stevie Wilson (@LAStory)

February 18, 2016

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