I like to learn from mistakes ... especially other people's. And from my experience that dates back to typewriters and dinosaurs roaming the Earth, it's a sure-fire way to avoid trouble.
That's why, when my husband and I were thinking about getting a new bicycle rack come spring, a device that would mount on top of our Jeep, I had misgivings; sort of a weird feeling in the pit of my stomach.
Setting Maalox aside, why shouldn't we worry?
At our age, we're not necessarily the sharpest blade in the drawer ... or was it the brightest bulb in the box? No matter, thankfully boomers aren't birthing babies because we might set them next to our missing keys or misplaced reading glasses.
Using that same reasoning, we also might momentarily forget where we put our bicycles.
Even so, we've thought a car-top bicycle rack might be the answer to our dilemma of pulling a tent-trailer and trying to find a spot for our bikes, too. So, when we were hanging out with a group of friends we asked if they'd ever had any experience with carrying something ON TOP of their car.
It's wonderful what people will reveal to help a friend. And as one told us, there's the danger of "out of sight, out of mind."
Since I'm not bound by attorney-client privilege, I'll gladly "spill the beans," a term like "malarkey" that only seniors understand.
It seems that one year our friend, Jay, and his wife merrily put their Christmas tree on top of their car to transport it home, then instantly doused their Christmas spirit when they drove into their garage. Or at least tried to drive into their garage.
Of course, the first thing he did was yell, "Sue!" which you might expect from a lawyer. But his sweet wife, Sue, took his cross outburst in stride.
In a year's time with all forgiven and forgotten (and the top of the garage door repaired) this heretofore loving couple decided to carry the Christmas tree home on top of their car again. Quite unexpectedly, destroying their garage door has become a family tradition.
You can imagine after hearing their tale of woe, Bill and I have decided it would be in the best interest of our marriage to find a way to carry our bikes anywhere but on top of our vehicle. After all, why should we make the same mistake? We've already learned from theirs. Twice.
Thanks to Jay and Sue's candid sworn testimony, we've avoided a potential problem. We bought a fake tree and quit riding our bikes.
But joking aside (now sitting next to the Maalox), on bigger life issues I think there's always the possibility of doing stupid things. Take for instance the television, newspapers and social media examples of individuals who haven't made wise choices, and they've reaped huge difficulties as a result. Some with permanent consequences gone viral, of course.
That's why I think it's a good idea to "listen" to God's Word where there are plenty of on-the-record stories about people who made some whopping mistakes. Like Jonah who didn't follow God's directions, deciding instead to take his own path and then ends up with a "whale" of a problem. Or Adam and Eve who disobeyed the rules to taste the forbidden, then found their paradise lost. And what about King David who let lustful thoughts lead to a deadly decision, one that nearly ruined his relationship with God.
In each case, it was about making an unwise choice.
I don't know about you, but I think it would be a smart plan to learn from their mistakes, and never have a moment of forgetfulness. It could save me, and you, from a heap of trouble.
And that's no malarkey.
(Lucy Luginbill is a career television producer-host and the Spiritual Life editor for the Tri-City Herald. In her column, she reflects on the meaning of her name, "Light Bringer." If you have a story idea for Light Notes, contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
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