I almost destroyed my car this weekend. "Son, have you been driving this thing like a Nascar?" I chuckled at the guy changing my oil. I had decided to have it changed a little sooner than scheduled, because my car is getting older and something had seemed a little off when the motor revved higher. I explained my racing days were behind me and asked what he noticed.
"You're almost out of oil, only about a quart in there," he responded. I'm not an expert, but I know enough to know that's not good. Oil is arguably the most important factor in the life of a motor. "Good thing you came in when you did," he said, "or you wouldn't have been driving this car much longer."
For a few weeks I had suspected something was up. The oil light had flickered but not stayed on and the acceleration wasn't quite as smooth. Part of me didn't want to have the problem diagnosed for fear of an expensive repair. If I had kept following that logic (or lack of), it could have cost me an expensive replacement.
I've had my car for nearly eleven years. I got it when I first turned sixteen, and it has been one of the most faithful things I've owned. I used to wash it two or three times a week when I first started driving. I vividly remember the feeling of freedom when I pulled out of the driveway by myself for the first time. I've put 155,000 miles on it, and there's still a few more to be had. My point being: I would have been sad to say goodbye to a smoking, oil-less Honda on the side of the road.
It's funny how we can ignore the subtle signs that trouble is brewing. In the case of my car: the check engine light, the sound of the motor, weird noises, etc. Our relationships and personal lives are much the same. How often is our potential demise staring us straight in the face? But we're too busy. There is something else that has to be done NOW. We don't have the money. I'll get it to it eventually. One more day won't hurt. The excuses are never hard to think of...
This truth is much the same as last week: we fail gradually then suddenly. My car wouldn't have died the very first day it started burning oil. Our lives normally don't fall apart in a day. So my resolve is two-fold:
1. Act on the subtle signs immediately.
2. Be a person that welcomes feedback for the things I can't see in myself.
On a side note, the blog is now a little more than 7 months old. Many of you have personally encouraged me with your thoughts on the blog, and I am very grateful. I always want to be mindful of who is reading and continue improving as a writer and thinker. Moving forward, please keep letting me know your thoughts, particularly through the comments section.