Random and not so random musings from a 5th generation NE Missourian who became a 1st generation Episcopalian. Let the good times roll!

I was looking for something in the garage yesterday and bumped into one of the old wheel bearings that had been replaced in my truck a year ago. (Ok. Don't ask me why I had not pitched a worn-out wheel bearing.) But it got me to thinking about an illusion I had carried for several weeks around the time I got it replaced.

When you are a person who "drives vehicles until they wear out," like I do, you get very sensitive to all the "new" creaks and noises they start to make. I had started to hear a noise in one of my tires, and had decided that probably the tires were starting to wear. As a person who keeps vehicles going well past the 100,000 mile mark, I develop "semi-intimate" relationships with various garage folks, tire folks, muffler folks, etc., in town. So I bopped in to see my buddies at Hunter Tire. They looked at the tire, thought it wasn't wearing that badly, thought maybe it needed balancing.

Over the next few weeks, the fellows at Hunter Tire and I were seeing an awful lot of each other. I was convinced the noise was coming from the tire. My adamant-ness that it was the tire, was convincing THEM it had to be the tire. Eventually, I ended up buying a new tire.

Imagine my irritation when even with the new tire, that noise was STILL there.

So back to Hunter Tire I go.

One of the fellows there stood and thought a minute, and said, "You know, maybe it's the wheel bearing." He started dismantling the wheel, and suddenly, staring back at us was a wheel bearing so worn, it was on the verge of crumbling. In a few days or weeks, my wheel would have fallen off. But I was so sure it was the tire, and so insistent that it was the tire, that I had convinced the experts not to look at the big picture and keep them all obsessing about the tire, same as me. I couldn't let go of the illusion that the noise was in the tire. It was an illusion that could have killed me.

It got me to thinking, as I looked at that worn out wheel bearing over a year later, that, in our various ways, we often covet illusions to justify something in our lives. These illusions tend to be "all good" or "all bad." The reality, of course, is that there is both good and bad in all of them. I think about this recent debate about health care in the U.S. We put some politicians on pedestals and make Judas Goats of others. We blame insurance companies, poor people, people with poor judgment regarding preventive health care, people on the opposite side of the political spectrum as ourselves, and talk radio hosts or columnists.

In all this debate, so few of us ever stop and think that the things we are absolutely cocksure about are not quite right. In our own ways, we might insist it is the tire, and refuse to think something deadly is happening in the wheel bearing.

These illusions stretch over many aspects of our lives, not just in politics. We become absolutely sure "what it is, is the way we see it." It sometimes takes years before the reality of things are revealed.

In our relationships with God, we often have "expectations" attached to our prayers. We are so sure we know "what God ought to do," and then when "it" doesn't happen, we don't see the full measure of the outcome. We are coveting an illusion that we know better than God what ought to happen. It reminds me of the old phrase, "Man plans; God laughs."

We all have difficulties with "trusting authority." It is hard for me to trust people who are "over me" in an organizational ladder. It's easier, I think, to want to be "God's buddy" rather than accept that God is the boss. Yet it is only in that realization that we can really discern what God wants for us, and to let go of potentially damaging illusions of ourselves.


This is so rich, the whole post. However, I think I have found my prayer for the day, for the next while in this...

"et it is only in that realization that we can really discern what God wants for us, and to let go of potentially damaging illusions of ourselves."

This am I heard my rector say something from her conviction that her illusion is all good. My husband heard it from his conviction that her illusion is all bad. I sat stunned on the altar and watched him glare at the rector the rest of the service and leave without shaking her hand. Now he says he never will return. I think the truth is somewhere in the middle, and what you say about "what it is, is the way we see it" has gone to an ugly conclusion.

Lauralew, and that right there is what that illusion is all about, and why it is dangerous. Sigh. Prayers all around.

This is such a perceptive post. It clarifies something for me. I am struggling in my own way to identify some of the illusions that are controlling me right now. This post helps give me language for what I'm doing.

Hmmmmm . . . much to consider here.

Ruth, I think what you allude to is half the battle. We don't want to give up the illusions that seem "all good," and we don't want to even look at the ones that seem "all bad."

And, Elizabeth, I hear you. This was one of those posts for me that I realized I could cogitate on the dynamics of this in so many venues, and spend hours doing it!

You're right. That clarifies even more. I think perhaps it's the "all good" ones that are holding me back.



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Kirksville, Missouri, United States
I'm a longtime area resident of that quirky and wonderful place called Kirksville, MO and am wondering what God has hiding round the next corner in my life.

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