There were 2 very significant events that could place last week. These events will be forever connected to each other and they were both marked by some special sounds. The events were that my 9th grandchild was born last Sunday night and my van died on Tuesday afternoon.
One of the best things about spending a little time with granddaughter, and her parents, was the sounds she made. She had the cutest sounds of breathing while she was sleeping in my arms. She sneezed and used her whole body to produce the sneeze. She even cried a little and it was beautiful. These sounds were awesome because they were all indications of life. Hearing them was a wonderful reminder of the fact that she is alive.
My van died on Tuesday. It died 1 mile from where my granddaughter lives. I was on my way to see, and hear, her for the first time and my van didn’t quite finish the trip. I turned a corner a mile from my destination and it happened. At the time I didn’t know what happened but the sounds my van was making changed. The engine started revving and it slowed down. The revving was because I still had my foot on the gas pedal but the transmission was no longer engaging. I realized that I was now coasting in my van and not powering forward. There was also the absence of a sound that had accompanied me the whole trip. That was the sound of the van moving through the air around it. In contrast to the beautiful sounds I was about to hear from my granddaughter these sounds were an indication of death. The death of my van.
The sounds with their contrasts had one thing in common, that was they both produced thankfulness for me. You probably have no difficulty figuring out why I was thankful for the sounds of my granddaughter, but you might be wondering how the sounds of my van dying produced thankfulness. Last Sunday I preached from I Thessalonians 5:16-18 which says “Be joyful always, pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” When my van died my first word was “Nooooooooooo”. As I waited for my son-in-law to pick me up I began to become thankful. Why? I got to within a mile of my destination which was 262 miles of my 263 mile trip. It happened on a side street and not on the Interstate as I went around Chicago in bumper to bumper 4 lane traffic at 70 mph. This van cost me $2,500 3 years ago and had served me well. This happened to me and not to my wife. My van died, I didn’t. I began to have a fresh new understanding of thankfulness and joy and I have certainly been praying continually for another vehicle.
I am still thankful for my trip. Yes my van died, but I got to spend 26 hours with my new granddaughter, my daughter and my son-in-law. My van died, but we were able to borrow a vehicle to make it home and use for a little while during our search for another mode of transportation. My van died, but my family and my faith is alive and well.
The sounds of my granddaughter still resonate in my heart and mind. The sound of my van are fading. What a difference a sound makes.