One of the greatest lessons I learned in life happened during my junior year of high school. My sister had just left for college, giving me the long-awaited privilege of being able to drive myself to school. It was a proud moment. But that’s where my gratitude ended and my pride began.
We were a Buick-driving family—mostly because my grandma loved Buicks, and when she was ready to buy a new car, she would give our family her gently used ones. And so I became the proud owner of one 1980 Buick Century 4-door sedan. I was only a few days into driving it to school before a classmate nicknamed it the “banana boat” due to its size and pale yellow color.
Winters were especially fun. If the boat didn’t get enough warm up time in the a.m. (which was often, since I slept in until the last possible minute), it would conveniently cut off at every turn. So at a time in my life when I was trying to minimize embarrassing moments and build up cool points, my car would cut off right as I rounded a curve into the school parking lot. In front of all the students. All of them.
I was mortified. I regaled my tales of woe to my mom. She listened graciously, thoughtfully, and when I finally stopped to take a breath, she calmly replied:
“Maybe you should start thanking God for the car. Because when you start being grateful and content for what you have…then just watch what God will do.”
I took the bait. Heck…if God was going to do something great in my life and give me a shiny, new car, it was worth saying a few words of thanks for the boat. It wasn’t much in the beginning—just a simple, “Thanks for the provision of this car.” But as I spoke those words every day, something began to change. I began to feel at peace. I began to really appreciate the car—cold snap cut offs and all. I became content.
And then it happened. A few months later, after taking my friends on a glorious day trip to the beach in the banana boat, the boat decided her time was up. The transmission blew and she was laid to rest in a salvage yard.
Within a few weeks, I had a new car. Well, new to me. I actually ended up with a ’79 hatchback Honda. It was cute, it was burgundy, and it rattled when you drove it over 50 mph. But it was mine and I loved it.
My mom was right. Look what God had done. When my heart changed, so did my circumstances. Now, I’m not saying God was directly responsible for the Buick’s demise…but I do believe that gratitude opens the door for Him to bless us.
It’s all about the heart with God. And that’s the true miracle of what God had done. It was never really about the car. It was all about my heart and teaching me to be grateful. A lesson I will never forget.
So…what are you thankful for?