So I was gonna tell you all about how my car is in the shop, and has been for a week because we are still waiting to find out A) Whether or not the head is cracked (imagine I am saying that with my eyebrows raised and an air that implies I know what a “head” is and how highly annoying it is to fix it) and B) How much these repairs are going to suck from our bank account (now imagine a tumbleweed blowing through a baron land).
I was going to write this whole blog of complaint about my car and how much it hates me and how I know this because four hours – not even kidding – FOUR hours after we got it back from the police after two months in a police impound lot the A/C quit on us. Four hours. However, A/C is not a necessity. You will learn this too when you are driving along one night and sweat is pouring out of your pits and dripping off your elbows and you start to think to yourself “I am about to die of a heat stroke. I need A/C.” but, then your headlights stop working. At that exact moment, you will change your mind very very fast. You will decide, instead, that what you really need is working headlights.
After the headlights quit on us, the car started into all manner of angry rebellious car behavior until we finally decided that I should go to the store and stock up on groceries so we could take it in to the mechanic in the morning. I was too nervous to drive it, sure that if I did it would make a full Christine/Murderous Camaro-style transformation and things would end horribly. When I voiced my concern, Steve graciously offered to go with me (although I’m pretty sure he was thinking “Grreeaat…this is the part where my lunatic wife goes completely off her rocker and slams our already limping car into a wall because she thinks it’s ‘out to get her’.”) So he drove. And it’s a good thing.
When we finished shopping, the sexy beast refused to start. For a minute. Then it did. Then it immediately over-heated. Then it cooled. Then there was a moment of panic when we got stuck behind a bus – which (raised eyebrows, voice of authority) is a very bad thing for a car with a blown gasket. Then we had to find some water. Fast. Which we did. In a 55 gallon drum at a gas station and, no, there are no convenient little hoses for air and water in Costa Rica. So, how do you get the water from the drum into that one spot in your engine compartment thingy? Well, first you marry a genius, then you raise your kids to be gigantic slobs that never pick up after themselves, then your genius husband will look in the back of your car where he will find a McDonalds cup from a million years ago and pour out the last inch of orange Fanta and then use said cup to scoop the drum water into the…steamy…hole..place where it’s supposed to go. It’s a snap.
Anyway, I was going to tell you all this, but then I was thinking about something that one of the little boys in the Precario said the other day. Man, those little suckers really have a way of putting things into perspective…
So, we start off our play time with a prayer each week by asking for a kid to volunteer to lead it. This always results in about 13 little hands shooting up and then the first 9 or so kids backing out from nerves. But we always get one, eventually, who will stand up and lead our ragamuffin group in prayer. On this particular day, it was Andrés, who is one of the sweetest, most genuinely nice 5 year old boys you can imagine. He has jet black curls covering his head and a gap-toothed smile that will melt your heart. The problem is that his front teeth haven’t actually fallen out yet. What you see when he smiles is that his baby teeth have rotted all the way up to the gumline. Imagine, for a moment, how painful that must be. Then imagine that he is wearing a too small pair of shoes that are so torn up that he is continually tripping on the loose flap of sole at the toe as he runs and plays. And don’t forget where he lives. Shacks of tin, wood, cardboard, and loose block, teetering an a muddy hillside, with the stink of wet garbage and raw sewage to fill your nose, and starving mangy dogs running about. Now hold that image.
Andrés gets up to pray and this is what he says.
Thank you for this day,
Thank you for this food,
and thank you for my brother,
and thanks for games that we can play.
God, bless the kids that don’t have a roof to cover them,
and thank you that we have a roof.
God, bless the kids that don’t have shoes,
and thank you that we have shoes.
God, please bless the kids that don’t have eyes because they can’t see.
And You gave me eyes and a nose and a mouth!
So I can see and smell and eat.
Thank you, God, for that.
Sometimes, I feel like at this stage in my life, I shouldn’t have so much to learn from a 5 year old.
But here I am, learning the fundamentals of gratefulness from one that stands no taller than my bellybutton.
What he said.