When useless needless things happen

Since Jon has been discussing difficult life events in his new book, This Is Hard: What I Say When Loved Ones Die, I thought I’d share about a hard thing that happened – very minor compared to losing a loved one but still challenging to deal with.

One of our sons is staying with us for part of this summer. It’s a delight to have him around.

He parked his car in a place where there usually isn’t a car. My wife backed out like she always does – but didn’t pause long enough to think that a vehicle might be behind her.


Not just one car was damaged by a 10-second mistake but two.

Heather was, of course, very frustrated.

I was not flustered at all, because I have had more than my share of car accidents – some my fault and some the fault of others. In fact, I think I’m beating her in the number of accidents by a factor of more than three.

Then my mind went to dealing with the damage. We’ll hit our insurance deductible very easily. And with worker shortages and supply chain problems (unrelated to computer chips), it may be months before we can get the repairs done.

I’m thankful that our son will be understanding when he finds out about this incident.

I’m thankful that there was no damage to any humans.

But it’s still painful on several levels and will be a hassle to undo.

Jeremiah had a tough life. God called him to tell a whole country to turn from their bad ways – over and over. They wouldn’t listen – at all. And yet he had to live with his country’s horrible choices.

One of the things I love about Jeremiah is that he was not afraid to tell God his bad feelings about what was happening: “Oh, that I could go away and forget my people and live in a travelers’ shack in the desert” (chapter 9 verse 2).

So when bad things happen, let’s be honest with God and tell Him what we feel. He will listen. And it just helps to let it out.

Paul Merrill writes here every First Friday.