Thursday, April 12, 2012

Maintenance Required

The light has been flashing for awhile now. Every time I started the car it blinked "Maintenance Required." I'm a girl. I don't pay attention to this stuff. The little sticker in the corner told me I had 200 more miles before my next oil change so I figured the maintenance check could wait until then.
It wasn't until I glanced over at my windshield and noticed my inspection sticker bore the number "3". Uh oh. We're well into the 4th month. Girl moment again. Now realizing I was breaking the law, I made the call to schedule an appointment for maintenance and inspection.

The warning light wasn't enough to get my attention. I had to become a criminal to motivate me to take action.

How many times is this true of me? Guardrails are in place. Safety nets are out-stretched. The warning signs are posted. The flashing light serves as a reminder, "Pay attention!" But seemingly I ignore it. Not until I have crossed the line, gone over the cliff, broken the law, and found myself in actual danger (or trouble) do I really stop to pay attention.

Then I got the call that said, "There's a problem with your car..." Should I have really been surprised?! The warning light had been blinking for weeks. My ignorance of this flashing reminder to have things checked out caused a small little something left unattended to create a bigger something that would require it all to be replaced. Sheesh.

How many times has that happened? Even with the warning signs and flashing lights, when the problem is ignored or left unattended it usually leads to an even bigger problem. I couldn't see it - but that didn't mean it wasn't there. By looking at the exterior, no one would assume anything was wrong (other than the fact that my vehicle bears layers of dirt, pollen and bird poo that may in fact need to be scraped off.). This was under the hood.

My ignorance of the problem didn't make it go away. It made it worse. And now I'd pay the price.

There were two options. One was a temporary fix that would cost $10. The other would be a permanent fix that would cost...brace yourself...$850!

I'd like to give you a great spiritual application of how I immediately chose the permanent fix because the temporary solution won't last. However, I admit that my bill was only $10.

I'm well aware I've only "patched up" the problem. Eventually I'll need to pay the price and provide a permanent solution. I can tell you that I have learned a valuable - and in this case, costly - lesson. When the "Maintenance Required" light starts blinking, I'm going to pay closer attention. I don't want a small problem left unattended to escalate into something I can't fix.

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