I had found a used CD of Darrell Evans singing his Christian pop worship songs — songs I once played as part of a Catholic charismatic music ministry — and was just enjoying track 3, singing along at the top of my lungs, as I sped down the I-880 southbound freeway heading to work. There was abundant sunshine outside and joy in my heart.

And then there was a loud bang.

Whoah, I said to myself. That must’ve been a huge rock that hit me.

A few seconds later though, I noticed the flapping sound that could only come from a blown tire. I slowed down, put on the hazard lights, and made my way to the shoulder to assess the damage. True enough, my right rear tire was flat as an Olympic swimmer’s belly.

Ordinarily, I’d have expressed irritation and frustration at something like this happening. And on a day when I had a team meeting to attend! But just a few minutes prior, I was singing “I’m trading my sorrows, I’m trading my pain, I’m laying them down for the the love of the Lord.” And despite the temporary inconvenience, I was safe, unharmed, and alive. Blessings were everywhere around me, waiting for me to acknowledge them.

So I decided to keep singing under my breath while switching to my spare tire.

Anyone who knows me knows I’m not an alpha male/car expert/handyman by any stretch of the imagination. So changing a tire isn’t exactly something I can do in my sleep. But I have helped at least 2 or 3 times before in my life. It seemed easy enough since the car’s instruction manual listed detailed, and illustrated, steps. Turned out to be a walk in the park.

At one point, kneeling on the rough highway shoulder, and turning the jack that would raise my vehicle up, I wondered whether I should Instagram the moment. The desire for a selfie dissipated when a 16-wheeler rumbled past me, shaking the very ground I knelt on. God’s way of saying: “There are more important things to do here than Instagramming, son.”

Long story short:

  • Brought it to Costco. Turns out I didn’t buy the tires there so they couldn’t service it.
  • Brought it to Wal-Mart. The Pinoy mechanic informed me the tire was beyond repair as the rims had been hitting the inside of the tire so much due to its thinness, it had burned and deformed the tire. I asked if the speed I was going added to it. He said it didn’t matter what speed it was, it would’ve happened sooner or later. But they didn’t have a tire in stock that they could sell me.
  • Brought it to Bruce’s Tires where they had the exact tire I needed, and only had that one left. Meant to be.

Needless to say I didn’t make the team meeting that day. Instead, I went home after the long drawn-out ordeal. But I went home singing nonetheless. And driving much more carefully than usual.

Lionel's signature

IMAGE CREDITS: Photo by William Creswell. Fixin’ a flat. https://flic.kr/p/81fq3y

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