What follows is a story of this weekend.
I was excited to get away for a couple days with our good friends, the Hackett family. WAS.
Thursday as we set off for our trip, everything was going well. We left work around lunch time and were on the road by one o’clock. Roughly a couple hours into our trip, we are about a mile outside Leavenworth and an incredibly loud and rapid clicking begins emanating from under the hood. I pull over to check what is going on and, as I stop, our car stalls. I check under the hood to see if anything seems out of the ordinary. Looking back on the moment now, I wouldn’t have been able to tell the difference but I felt it was my obligation as a man to make the effort. After checking, I closed the hood and began to start the car. The clicking resumes and as I attempt to accelerate, we are barely picking up any traction.
We chug along a mile into town, barely moving, and begin googling auto shops. There are only two shops in town and one of them had just closed. He answered and sent us to another shop on the other side of Leavenworth. We continue along, loudly clicking from the hood as bystanders are staring at us while we pass. We roll into the parking lot of the auto shop and the owner comes out the door as we are stopping. He looks at me and says “that doesn’t sound good.” He lets us struggle the car into his shop and he takes a look below it. He comes up with a serious look on his face and informs us that, “I don’t know how this could have happened, but the bottom of your engine is gone. The clicking is a piston shooting through the bottom of your engine block.” The engine on our little Suzuki had blown. We were dead in the water and stranded hours from home and about an hour from our destination. My insurance would tow us as far as an auto shop, but most places in tourist towns don’t just have engines and the necessary tools for that swap lying around and I was currently sitting at one. To get my car towed back home would be a fortune. I had no idea what to do and I felt helpless. My car was stuck, we were stuck, our friends were an hour away at our destination, and my home was at least twice as far in the opposite direction.
We began the search for a way to get the car moved and to search for a rental car that can get us at least through the weekend. The pursuit for a rental place quickly ended up disappointing. Neither of us have credit cards and few places will rent to you without one these days. Then when we were able to find places that would, they were forty minutes away and closing before we could get there. Meanwhile, our friend Kyle had dropped his family off and was racing an hour back towards us so that we could attempt to make it back to the car rental place on time to try and pick up a car since they would only do it in person. As time went on and more calls were made, it quickly became evident that we weren’t going to get a rental car that evening. This meant if we wanted to get a rental he’d have to take me on a long drive on Friday to pick up a rental and then make the drive back to Chelan, spending more time of our trip trying to figure this out.
In the middle of frantically making calls and having no idea what to do, Samantha brought up asking a good friend of ours for help. I reached out to our friend Matt who has been an incredible blessing to us time and time again in numerous ways. He is way out in Federal Way and agreed not only to spend his Saturday coming to pick up our family and bring us home but also to help rent a trailer and pull our car there too.
As sucky at this whole situation has been, as I’ve reflected on it over the past couple of days, I have begun to notice the little things that show up as the hand of God in all of this so far.
When our car first showed the signs of being shot, we were within a mile of Leavenworth and an auto shop. This is an incredible blessing in itself as we had just driven for hours through a mountain pass and could’ve been stranded anywhere out there, isolated from cell phone service and a nearby town. In addition, even though we had a piston shooting through the engine, we were able to putter along slowly down the road into town. I don’t know the dynamics of blowing an engine but I am personally thankful that we had the ability to drive this car to a shop instead of being stuck on the side of the road and needing a tow. What a blessing that was.
Once we got to the shop and found out our vehicle was done for, the owner was incredibly gracious with us. He offered to allow us to keep the car there for a week or so while we figure out how to get the car all the way home. This was huge and alleviated the burden of needing to find an immediate solution for removing the car from his parking lot that day.
Our friend Matt agreed to graciously surrender his Saturday to some pick us up and help bring us and the car home. This was probably the biggest burden of this immediate weekend lifted. Not having to worry how ourselves or the car was getting home was a huge relief and blessing for us. It also removed the need to pay for renting a car which would have been more expenses for us in the middle of all of this.
The place we spent the weekend was beautiful and comforting amidst the turmoil of everything that happened on the way. We were on a lake, in a gorgeous room, with friends who we loved, surrounded by snow covered mountains. We had two days of relaxing and just having fun to take our minds off the frustration that was Thursday evening. What a temporary relief.
Lastly, Samantha’s tribe got some kind of government settlement and she will be receiving a check for a few thousand dollars. Talk about God’s good timing. We don’t know when that will come. Hopefully soon. But, it will surely be welcomed as we dive into the struggle of trying to survive with just one car for two very busy people and figuring out my transport situation.
That is the story of how God blessed us in little ways through blowing our engine.