arise, shine, your light has dawned

Yesterday my travels took me into London – to Spurgeon’s College to be precise. Spurgeon’s is the Bible College that was responsible for my formative training and still holds a very affectionate place in my heart, so it was a real joy that one of my responsibilities is to represent my Association on the College Council.

You don't need to strip down a car to these extremes to change a bulb!

You don’t need to strip down a car to these extremes to change a bulb!

It was a murky day yesterday and I had my car headlights on as I drove along. That was more for the benefit of other drivers – they could see me more easily (my car’s muckiness may have made it camouflaged – see earlier bloggage this week about how I will be dealing with that). In the midst of some slow-moving traffic I noticed that I could only see the reflection of one of my headlights in the rear of the car ahead. I wondered if that may be to do with the shape of the car in front’s rear bumper but when I later had a bus in front of me I still could only see one headlight reflected and realised that a bulb had gone.

Wonderfully (miraculously? probably not but I was blessed by the coincidence) it was only about five minutes later that I saw one of the large chains of car and bicycle spares and accessories on my side of the road in a small retail park. Relieved, I drove in, parked, checked the headlights from the front of the car (yes a bulb had gone) and went into the store in search of a new bulb.

The range of possible bulbs was bewildering but thankfully there was a guide to show me which bulb was needed for my make and model of car. I picked out two of the ones I wanted (thinking it was sensible to have a spare as I don’t want to be stuck in the middle of nowhere at night with limited illumination) and went to the till. The young lady there asked me whether I had the correct bulbs and I explained that I had checked on the chart near the bulbs. She said that the chart was a bit out of date and checked on the computer system. Sure enough I had picked up the right bulbs for my car, but the wrong bulbs for the one that had failed. The young lady told me which ones I needed and I brought them back to the till.

By this time I was running a bit late so when I was asked if I would like to pay for fitting I declined the offer. If I am honest there was a bit of pride in there too – after all I was sure I could work out how to change a bulb!

I didn’t have time to sort it out there and then but drove to the College, having decided to sort it out in the car park after my meeting.

The meeting was good: insightful, encouraging, and inspiring.

Then I went back to the car park to change the bulb. My car has a handbook and I looked up ‘changing a bulb’ in the handbook. There was a diagram that showed me how to get the back off the light fitting and I managed (with a little manual contortion) to get one of the clips undone. But the other one (the one I couldn’t see) refused to budge. After a lot of effort (and very mucky hands) I admitted defeat and asked my satnav to take me to the nearest location of a store in the chain from which I had purchased the bulbs. I would ask nicely if they would allow me to pay for fitting now.

I was delighted to find that there was one within a couple of miles and followed the directions to get there. As I approached I realised that this was not a store, but a garage in the same chain. I needed the bulb changing so I went in anyway. I explained the situation and one of the kind mechanics came out to help. He told me that I needed to take off the headlight in order to access the back of the unit and change the bulb. The handbook had not said anything about that!

After a little while the mechanic managed to remove the headlight and after a struggle managed to undo the troublesome clip. I was secretly pleased that he had struggled with the clip as it meant that even though I had not realised you have to take the headlight off at least I wasn’t a wimp when it came to the clip. Eventually the back was removed and the new bulb fitted. Once it was all put back together I asked how much it would be and mechanic smiled and said, “No charge.”

What a nice man. A very nice man. (No, not that automotive rescue service). I gave him a contribution to the mechanics’ tea and coffee fund and set off home, fully illuminated.

What did I learn, on reflection (pun intended)? I learnt how to change a lightbulb in my car. But I also learnt that it’s no good just turning to one page in the handbook and expecting to get the whole answer. You see on the preceding page it shows you how to take the headlight fitting off, but that was not where the index pointed me and I (daftly) did not think to check the preceding pages. I just stuck to the page I had.

Do you treat your Bible like that? If so, don’t be surprised when you struggle.

(I also learnt a lot about pride, humility, and grace…)

Be blessed, be a blessing

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