In early January, my car started making its "old oil" noise, a little earlier than expected. So I drove up to the dealership for the fancy oil change, the one where they top everything off and check all the belts and whistles. (See what I did there?)
Much too long later, I was on my way home, but my engine was still kind of buzzing with this weird noise I'd have trouble describing except to say I easily confused it with my "old oil" noise and figured it would wear off when the new oil wore in. No such luck. So I've been driving around for the past six weeks with this horrible noise coming from under my hood, laying awake at night wondering where I'm going to get the - I'm sure - hundreds of dollars necessary to get my car back in top working order.
If it's not one thing, it's another.
Those of you who know me know I normally love this sort of thing - the chance to fix something. The truth is that I'm not that familiar with the inner workings of an engine, and when it comes to things that seem serious and might affect the driving ability of my car, I try not to take too many chances. I did well a few winters ago with frostbitten fingers to figure out replacing my own windshield wiper motor, but even that took more time than I felt like I had to mess with this engine noise.
And the internet was turning up too many possibilities to count, with words I couldn't really identify.
Sunday, though, it got to me. I decided there are some things you have to make time for, so I grabbed my mom and made her sit in my driver's seat. If nothing else, I told her, you're going to rev my engine while I look under the hood. Then, if I can figure out which part of the engine the noise is coming from, I'm going to take a mental picture and go inside and Google that and see if I can come up with anything that might be helpful.
We never had to get that far.
You see, all my nights lying awake, worrying about the repair bill, working over the engine in my mind, trying to figure a way out of this mess...I'd been too scared to look and try to find the problem. I'd been too nervous to open my hood because it was going to boil down to, "I don't know, but seems expensive." It was going to be the kind of thing that when I didn't know what was causing it, I could look at my report sheet from the dealership and see that everything had checked off well and convince myself that my car was just getting old and no big deal, but if I opened my hood and saw something different, well, that changes things. And I have a hard time not fixing something that's broken. And I just don't have the money right now.
And all that for NOTHIN'.
Before my mom could even start my car, as I was putting the sustaining rod in the open hood, the problem was painfully, humorously obvious. As much as I know about engines, and the greater deal that I do not know about engines, I could say with absolute certainty...
There was not supposed to be a wrench laying there.
Now, I say all that to say this:
How often are we scared to look because we don't know what we'll find, only to worry ourselves to death until we break down and take a peak just to find that it's nothing? How often do we hold back, afraid that whatever we find will be a wrench in our plans when in fact, it might just be a wrench?
And how great is our God that sometimes, the wrench can be the answer to our worries instead of something to worry about. Sometimes, the wrench can be grace.
The wrench can be a blessing, if only we're willing to look.