Tire Incident Provides Symbol Of Faith In God
Published: November 27, 2003
When I was about 16, my family came home one night from my brother’s National Honor Society induction ceremony to find something very unexpected. I vividly remember the scene. It was a beautiful night because it was the beginning of springtime, and everything was coming back to life after the long Pennsylvania winter. It was just before sunset, and as we walked up the sidewalk to our back porch, we found an unusual sight. The farmer who tended to my grandmother’s fields was sitting on our porch swing, and one of the large back tires from his tractor was embedded in our kitchen wall.
For those of you who are not familiar with farm machinery, I should emphasize the word “large.” The tire was at least four feet in diameter.
It soon became apparent what had transpired while our family was away. While the farmer had been planting in the sloped acre field directly above our house, his tire had somehow come loose and become detached from the axle. He wasn’t aware of what had happened until he was helplessly watching it gain momentum as it rolled down the hill towards our home. It ended up smashing into the wall where my Mom frequently stood washing dishes and looking out the window at the fields, trees, flowers and occasional deer that would come to graze there.
If anyone had been standing there that day, God only knows how seriously he or she would have been injured. All I know is that the impact of the tire was strong enough to knock down a significant portion of the wall, cover the kitchen with debris, and send glass from the window clear across to the opposite side of our house.
It was unnerving that nothing could have been done to prevent the accident. I am a person who loves being in control, and yet, as demonstrated by “the tire incident,” I would be a fool to say that I can control life. It would be ludicrous for me to go to a hardware store inquiring about devices that divert large rolling objects from crashing into homes.
The question then is what are we to do when the inevitable tires crash into our life? How do we stay sane when we are suddenly laid off, when someone we love is faced with a terminal illness, when our marriage is about to fall apart, when we are in the depths of depression, or when our best efforts still leave us feeling as if we’ve failed?
We like to place the burdens of life on our own shoulders. We pride ourselves on being independent, self-sufficient, and capable of facing anything. Yet if we are truly Christian, we realize how silly all of this pompousness is. While it’s true that the tires are going to keep rolling towards us, we are not supposed to be enduring their impact alone. God is yearning to help us if we only ask.
Do we recognize His presence in our life? Sometimes He works through other people, sometimes He speaks directly to us, and sometimes He simply gives us a sense of calm in the midst of the storm.
When awful thing, happen, we immediately want to ask why. I haven’t found an answer to many of my “whys” Why did a tire slam into our home? Why did my Mom die of cancer? Why is life so hard some days?
While I don’t have answers to these questions, someone once shared with me this enlightening analogy. They said to think of life as a quilt. Here on earth we can only see the backside of the quilt with all of its unfinished threads and knots. But when our time here is finished, God will turn the quilt around to reveal a beautiful pattern. We’ll see how all of our experiences were necessary so that they could intertwine. The tire incidents will interconnect with the incredibly wonderful things that happened in our life. Some experiences will strengthen us while others will help us to empathize with others. Some will teach us to completely depend on God, and still others will make us less dependent on worldly things. That is what our tire incident did. That night we all drifted off to sleep with a refreshed gratitude for one another for we had just been gently reminded that while kitchens are replaceable, people are not.
If we would only truly trust God when we are faced with smashed-in walls and smashed-in dreams, then life would be so much easier.
Paul talks about his afflictions in 2 Corinthians 12:8-10: “Three times I begged the Lord about this, that it might leave me, but He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.’ I will rather boast most gladly of my weaknesses, in order that the power of Christ might dwell in me. Therefore I am content with weakness, insults, hardships, persecutions and constraints, for the sake of Christ; for when I am weak, I am strong.”
The tires may knock your house down, but don’t let them touch your faith. Keep your eyes on Christ so that your quilt will turn out to be beautiful.
Ann Blasick is the program coordinator for Young Adult Ministry (YAM) for the Archdiocese of Atlanta.