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Sunday School - The Broken Down Car.

Cowabunga Jones

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I wrote this while listening to "A boy with a coin" by Iron & Wine.

Listen along as you read if you'd enjoy some mood music.


Think of a car stranded on the side of the road.


Two passengers in the front begin entertaining themselves by playing with the radio and the climate controls to pass the time. Another person sits in the back trying to convince them that the engine is broken and its time to get out and start walking. They respond to their backseat companion’s objections by trying to convince him that one day the car will start again. Until then, they show him how to tune the different stations on the radio and how hard the dash fans blow. The fact that the engine is broken does not phase them.


The ability to listen to the radio and to blow the air of the fans still gets them no where closer to their destination. It’s merely an entertaining of the senses. A song might come over the speakers and trigger nostalgia of days gone by. A wave of emotion comes over the stranded passengers and they interpret this as the car’s way of telling them they will be alright.


However, at some point the rider in the back seat reaches around and pulls the hood latch, gets out of the car, and takes a look at the engine.


“Come out here and look at this! The wires are all fried and criss-crossed! Who designed this car anyways?”


The driver, still inside, looks at the other passenger with a knowing smirk and replies: “The car was given to me by my father and my father’s father and his father before that. It was originally designed by many different people from all walks of life over hundreds of years! It’s a perfect design that is just too complicated for you to understand it fully. Maybe if you study several languages in-depth and get training in mechanical engineering from the best minds in the field, then you will understand it more.”


The former passenger takes a closer look.


“You know that the absence of any engine fluid whatsoever means that this car will never run without them right? I mean, how can you believe it will ever start again unless we add fluid of our own?”


Again that knowing smirk appears. “Well sure now the car is testing our faith. We know the fluid isn’t there like it used to be, but that doesn’t mean it won’t come back some day. If we are patient, the car will show us in its own way that it will run.”


“Well, there is also like two different systems of measurement in here too. I mean, one is in metric and the other uses some ancient unit of measurement. How are you supposed to know fix the thing when there is such confusion in the design?”


The two inside are now growing a bit weary of the other’s questions. “Look, its not meant to be fixed. Its design is perfect. We just need to be patient and have faith that the car knows what is best. I mean, who are you to question the car?”


It is with this comment that the one outside slams the hood down. “Suit yourself guys. I’m walking to the nearest gas station.”


Suddenly the two inside become very concerned. “Are you sure you want to do that man? I mean, what if the car starts while you are gone? Then what will you do? You will be left behind out here or stuck at some lame gas station!”


“I’ll take my chances. I know right where to find you if I want to give the car a shot again sometime.”


With his thumb in the air, the man hitches a ride with a man on a horse drawn cart and slowly rides off down the road. One day he would return to the car to see his old friends still there. They would tell him stories of how the radio and vents had stopped working for a while, but every so often, the dash light still flickers and they know the car is still with them.


They are no longer interested in discussion. They have resided themselves to die inside the car in the hope that giving their faith and life to it might earn its favor.


As the once passenger walks away for the last time, the greatest comfort he can take is that at least the story is not so sad for him. At least he has ended the hope in something false and chosen the joy of the only real existence we will ever know.


Congratulations to all of you who have left. It ends with you. It ends with us.

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What a wonderful gift to us, CJ! Thanks.

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