Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The most beautiful dent

A few weeks ago, a woman backed her car into the side of my minivan and left a huge dent.

For the first time in 20 years, I filed a claim with my insurance company. A couple of days later, an adjuster came out to the house, assessed the damage, determined that I was not at fault and wrote me a check.

I fully intended to get the car repaired.

I love my car. It is the closest I have ever come to owning a 'new' car. It only had 30,000 miles on it when I bought it 7 years ago. So, I checked out repair facilities and determined that I could get a rental while it was in the shop. I made plans to fix the dent.

Nguyen thought I should take the money and donate it to charity. 'People are hungry. Things are bad. That money could really help someone." he said. I hate it when he gets all charitable. Especially when it is at my expense. Especially when it sheds light on my own lack of generosity.

Yeah, I said, that's all well and good, but what about my car? Am I really going to drive around in a minivan with a big dent in the side? I plan on driving this car into the ground. I want it to look nice while I do.

"Suit yourself." he said. "It's your car."

I made up my mind. I was going to fix the car.

But for some reason, I didn't pick up the phone to make an appointment. I just kept driving with the dent.

And then, on Monday, I was running errands when God suddenly clocked me upside the head.

The money I got for the dent was something like a year's wages in Vietnam or Mali. This money could really do some good for someone. I decided right then and there that I would send some of the money to my father in law in Nha Trang, some of it to my new family in Mali and the rest of it, well, Nguyen and I have a 10 year old mattress that could use replacing....

God shows us the way to live a generous and compassionate life. Apparently I am a slow learner.

From now on, when I see the dent, I won't see ugly, twisted metal and flaked paint. I will see a steaming bowl of rice with peanut sauce. And it will be lovely in my eyes.

Sigh. I just hate it when my husband is right.

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