One Saturday several years ago I exited the house and quickly discovered that my car had a flat tire. I wasn’t in a hurry that particular day so the frustration that would normally accompany this unexpected deviation from my proposed schedule wasn’t present. Instead, I decided to take advantage of this moment. I went inside to look for my 10 yr old son, Samuel.
I found him exactly where I had anticipated, deeply engrossed in some highly intellectual Saturday morning television programming. Though I hated to interrupt his extra-curricular education, I asked him to come help me. After the usual pre-adolescent protests, he begrudgingly joined me outside.
First, I showed him where to find the necessary tools for this job in the back of the vehicle. Second, I taught him how to release the spare tire from underneath the car. During this phase I remember him saying,
“Dad, I don’t understand why you need my help. I’m just a little kid.”
To which I responded, “Just trust me buddy, I need your help.”
I taught him all of the tips and minor details of how to make this a safe and quick job. The first thing we did was put the emergency brake on. I taught him to loosen the lug-nuts before jacking up the car. After I started loosening one lug nut I let him try the rest. Of course, his ten year old arms didn’t have quite the strength that mine did, so after he attempted each one I would finish that portion of the job. I showed him how to find the appropriate spot to put the jack and allowed him to place it there. We then started jacking up the vehicle as I explained to him why we do it this way during the whole process.
As we were jacking up the car he experienced several missteps, including: cranking the wrong direction (several times), wrench slips, tired arms – to the point where I had to do the last several turns myself because he wasn’t able, and even a scraped knuckle on the pavement with a little blood as evidence. After quite some time, we finally jacked the car up enough to remove the tire.
Removing the old tire and replacing it with the spare, we then did the whole process in reverse.
During our tire-changing adventure there were plenty of giggles and laughter, conversation, and just plain old having a good time together. Finally, we finished the job – which took 2 to 3 times longer than it would have had I simply done it myself.
Tired, greasy, dirty, and a little bloody – we went inside to wash off the grime from our hands and arms as a result of handling this highly mechanical job. As he was cleaning himself up Samuel had a slight grin on his face. I said to my son, “Thanks, Samuel, I really appreciated having your help changing the tire.” To which he replied, “No problem.” He paused for a moment then continued, “Ya know dad, I still don’t really see why you needed my help but – I was glad to do it.”
Today I am reminded of the reality of God’s call.