One of our cars broke down on my morning commute.  It happened slowly…..  First the steering.  Then the air conditioning.  Then, finally, the car decided to completely shut down.  I won’t go into all the details, but the next twenty minutes involved a call to my husband, calls and texts to co-workers, a policeman and a friendly and helpful co-worker who, fortunately for me, lives close to the intersection of my incident and was happy to assist me. I found out later in the morning I’d made the daily radio traffic report.

tahitiThe car was towed to a garage and {hopefully}, will be repaired.  How much it will cost will determine if our family can take our annual trip to Tahiti this winter break.  [not really, we’ve never been to Tahiti and don’t plan on going anytime in the next decade]  The cost will, most likely, be impactful, as we don’t have extra cash between the mattresses or in the bank either, for that matter.  But, up until now, all financial matters have worked out one way or another, so I won’t get too stressed as of yet.

I actually mapped a bike route from my home to workplace, and while it’s not crazy long [6 miles], I am a little of leery of riding in fairly heavy traffic, while wearing work clothes, arriving at work in a drenched sweat.  So, meantime, I’ll carpool with mi esposo [my husband for the non-bilingual].

There’s a part of me that would like to feel sorry for myself.  Being stranded in an intersection is a bit stressful.  As are bills from car repair establishments.  Not to mention I have approximately one month with my firstborn before he heads off to college, then beyond.

the-wind-that-shakes-the-barleyBut darnit [and yet, I’m thinking dammit in my mind when I write this] I just completed reading And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini.  It’s hard to feel sorry for oneself after reading about people who have spent a great deal of time in Afghanistan.  A couple weeks ago I watched a movie, The Wind That Shakes the Barley, with my family.  It details the struggles in 1920s Ireland between the Irish, British, Catholics, Protestants, and on and on.  I heard a news story on NPR last week about the problems in Syria, and details of a 14 year old boy killed and left in the street, along with other tales of wrongdoing towards children in the midst of their conflict.  This morning, after settling into my work space, one of our clients came in for an appointment.  He proceeded to mention his time in prison.

Lately I’ve had my share of reminders and thoughts of suffering.  Truthfully, I don’t experience much suffering in my day to day life.  There are the typical disappointments, the hurts of simply living in the world, etc.  But the feeling of helplessly sitting in my broken down car was most likely nothing like the helplessness experienced by the real life counterparts of Hosseini’s novels.  The guy in our program who once served time in prison most likely inflicted pain on his loved ones because of his choices.  I can’t fathom being let down like that by my husband or father.

So, despite the difficulties, I’m trying to keep things in perspective.  I’m trying to focus on an evening at home with my family, what’s left of summer, doing what I enjoy and so on.  And not complaining.  Even if we never make it to Tahiti.  Even if we have to function with one, older model mini van that has seen better days.  There are worse things in life, right?

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