Brakes Down

It’s Tuesday after the 4th of July and I am driving my mom home from our cottage by the lake. We had spent the weekend there with family out on the water and I snagged a few photographs as well. When we were about a mile from our house, I pulled up to the stop light and the van started making some pretty scary noises. Something in the wheel well was grinding every time I applied pressure to the brakes. It was an awful rusty metal on metal sound that hurts your ears and makes your soul cringe, and I knew it wasn’t good. I’m no mechanic, but I’ve watched my dad change enough brake pads and rotors to know that this could get ugly fast. We made it home and I avoided telling myself that I might not make it to NY today. Fortunately it was 7:45 a.m. and there was a hope that maybe a brake job place would be open and able to take a look at it. Slim odds, but worth a shot. I called the local Conrads and they were able to get me in first thing. Phew.

I show up to the brake shop within minutes of them opening. I drop the van off and let the guy inspect it. They have to do a test drive first so they can diagnose the problem. I see the van leave, but never saw it come back. 25 minutes later I’m a little angsty. Every minute I’m here is a minute I’m not driving to NY and I am on a tight schedule. The only solace I can give myself is knowing that it’s better to take care of it now than be on the road and have this problem happening. I wouldn’t say my stress level was super high, but I was certainly worried and curious as to what the bill would end up being. Eventually a mechanic comes out from the garage and asks me to come take a look at the van with him. It was in the bay around the corner which is why I never saw it come in. At least it’s up in the air and the wheels are off . The mechanic showed me some things, said it was in relatively good shape but there were a few concerns. First he was having trouble getting the rotors off the back tires to get a good look at them. The front rotors were pretty much shot and the brake pads were garbage as well. He used some fancy words I didn’t quite catch, but I could see it wasn’t a great situation to be driving with the van as is. Lastly he also showed me the exhaust system. The exhaust pipe was completely detached from the muffler, which explained why the van sounded so loud inside and out whenever you started it up. To replace the whole exhaust it would cost $750 bucks because it was such an older model and rare find to be able to replace it. I laughed at that. No thanks dude. How about we just add a little slip collar on right here and weld the two together. That was my proposal and it was a 75 dollar solution. Back to the brakes, he showed me around some more, made a few explanations, I wasn’t a hundred percent sure, but at the end of they day I needed to get rolling and I was willing to take the hit now rather than try and get it done in NY. Especially if he could get this done in the next few hours.

The mechanic guy estimated they could have it done around noonish, which would still give me the second half of the day to make it to NY. So I gave them the green light and they started working on the van. My mom came and picked me up and I went home to finish packing and wrapping up my gear. Now this kind of setback could have easily rattled someone into not wanting to go. Right before I left for my job in Pennsylvania, I had had a similar problem with my car. I had put my two weeks notice in at the news station and the next day my brake lines went out on my car. I had to pay $850 dollars to get the brake lines all replaced and some other mumbo jumbo. My girlfriend at the time had suggested maybe that was a sign not to go to PA and work there. Which struck me as odd, because I had thought the exact opposite. I kind of saw it as a fear tactic from the enemy to keep me from going, but it actually made me think that this is where I am supposed to be going even more.  It made sense to me, if your car breaks down then you have a constant fear of your car not making it to where you need to go. That fear will keep you from stepping out and overcoming obstacles. If the enemy can keep you living in fear, then you can’t fulfill your purpose or step into your destiny with God. Somehow that had resonated with me when it had happened before Pennsylvania, and when it happened with my van before leaving for NY, I just felt it was too much of a coincidence. It was almost encouraging to think I must be doing something right if he really wants to keep me from going to NY.

If I had never made it to Pennsylvania, I never would have been in the room to receive the prophetic word I had gotten from Bill Yount at the church. I also never would have gone back and had the emotional breakdown I had a month later at the same church. Two very significant moments in my recent journey. So there was no doubt in my mind that I was supposed to be in Pennsylvania at the time. The same logic applied to me going to NY. If I don’t go to NY, then I am going to miss the open door and the opportunity God has prepared for me. Thankfully I was in a position that although this would be a rather large financial setback, it wouldn’t completely collapse me. I was able to pay for it without worrying too much. My thought process was that the cost of the van to be safe is equal to about a months worth of rent in NY so it was worth it. That and the safety of knowing the van was good to roll, or not roll, depending on if I applied the brakes or not.

Anyway, by around 1:30 I finally got the call that it was good to go, my mom gave me a lift up to the shop and I paid the bill. A whopping $750 dollars. Not great, but it was better to happen here than in NY, and to get it done that same day was a miracle in my book. I was supposed to start working at 10a.m. the next day in Manhattan, I couldn’t afford it to take any longer than it did. My mom and I stopped at the grocery store and picked up a few items for the trip, and then we prayed together in the parking lot. I gave her a hug and a kiss and I started my journey to the big apple. In 8 hours I would be parking my van somewhere in NY and preparing to settle in for the night before my first day of work in NYC.

“This is really happening. I can’t believe I’m doing this.” There was some serious excitement and peace going on inside my heart that day.

I’ll fill you in on my first night in Brooklyn on the next post. See you there 🙂

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