Why a Son Stranded at Night Resonated with So Many Friends

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I was dead asleep on a Monday night when the phone rang. I’d been asleep only an hour, but as I was startled awake, it felt like much longer. It was my oldest son calling to say that his car had died on the way home and he was stranded on the side of the Schuylkill Expressway. He was asking about how to call AAA. He hoped AAA would be able to jump-start his car and send him on his way.

I confirmed with him how to call them, then sat there thinking. It was unlikely the car simply needed a jump. Eventually I got up and awaited the follow-up call.

It came and we agreed the car should be towed to where it could be repaired, at the family mechanic’s place. We met there and were back home by 1:40 a.m. I went to sleep and the next morning I wrote this on Facebook.

A midnight call from the oldest son that his car broke down on the Schuylkill Expressway is no fun.

And yet, to see him manage a small crisis, to pick him up and drive home in the dark talking and excavating small truths, to return to bed, everyone safe (the tow truck driver even waited with Pete till I arrived where they took the car) confirms for me that this world is full of graces embedded in its difficulties, large and small.

Grateful for this particular, small one. But a little tired too.

And then people started to like it. It amazed me when it was liked by more than 120 people (and counting). I wonder why, and I think that in a Facebook feed dominated by eruptions against (and occasionally FOR) Donald Trump, something that is non-political and simply an acknowledgement of the challenges and rewards of this life struck people as real and valuable.

And thank God for that.

May your life be occupied by the real things—the care and concern we share for the ones we love. Our efforts to influence the things we can to make lives better—our lives, others’ lives. We are in this together.

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