Michelle Martin

God knows

May 15, 2024

Did you ever have a day where you had everything lined up just right?

Kids up and out the door on schedule, dog walked, breakfast eaten, lunch packed? A busy schedule, but one with enough time to get from point A to point B, and maybe a little extra to stop for the pick-up order at Target? Great, right?

Until you hop in the car, all proud of yourself for having everything together, not every day of course, but for this one day, you’re doing it right. And you turn the key and … nothing.

Well, not exactly nothing. A few clicks, the dashboard lights come on — the clock has reset to midnight — and then fade. And your well-planned day has suddenly gone poof! And disappeared.

Having car trouble, in that situation, was more an inconvenience than a crisis. The car was home, I was home, no one was in danger. I even had work I could do at home, once my husband and I tried to jump car and it didn’t work.

That meant waiting for AAA, getting the car to a mechanic, rearranging my day and figuring out if we could get the car back by late afternoon.

It turned out that we could; having a nearby mechanic whom you trust and who will do his best to accommodate your needs is a godsend, something to give thanks for.  But given the reality of traffic, and that my husband had told our oldest that he would pick her up from work miles across the city, I ended up leaving later than I was comfortable with to pick up our youngest from her after-school drama program.

I texted her before I left, telling her I had just gotten the car from the mechanic and would try to arrive on time, but instructing her what to do and where to go to meet me if she got out before I got there. Then I took every shortcut I knew, pulling up just two minutes after her scheduled dismissal and before any of the students were out.

Fifteen minutes later, she appeared, carrying a friend’s lunchbox that had been left behind that we needed to drop off on our way home. We had almost made it all the way home when, looking at her phone, my daughter said, “Oh, why were you at the mechanic?”

Because while my day seemed like a mess, with plans changed and meetings rescheduled and the stress of will-I-make-it-or-not driving in traffic, that was all invisible to my eighth grader, who had her own stressful day: testing in the morning, followed by the first performance of Godspell for the whole school, followed by what she informed me was “my last rehearsal ever.”

Probably everybody in all that traffic around me was having their own stressful day as well, all of us in our own little worlds, where we’re either crushing it, or everything is crumbling around us, or somewhere in between.

So keep a thought and say a prayer for the people around you, the ones you know and the ones you don’t. So many people are struggling with actual problems and challenges, far more serious than a car that wouldn’t start or having their plans ruined, and only God knows what they are all dealing with.


  • family life