Believe in the light
A surprising encounter at the car dealer
By Stephen Camilli
Tired, sweaty, cold, frustrated. Is this all worth it? Is this all there is to it? Eat, drive, work, drive, home, play with the kids, eat, sleep and start a new day. They always say that it is worth it in the end, but it doesn’t feel that way.
It’s time to go to the car dealership and take care of my tail light. I feel like complaining to every person I meet to see if they understand what I am going through. This man next to me looks like he would understand.
“How’s it going? You look like you’re in about as good a mood as I am.”
“Well, I have to admit, things aren’t easy. It’s snowing, my wife is pregnant, and we need to get some new wheels for an out-of-town trip.”
“Really? I remember those days — pregnant and snow go together like peanut butter and anchovies. When is she due?“
“Next week. I don’t want to make the trip, but it’s for some government thing, immigration services say that we need to get her birth certificate from my hometown or they won’t cover our medical care. I feel frustrated and helpless sometimes. The worst of it is, I’m just not sure if I’m doing the right thing.”
“What do you mean?”
“I wonder if I should even be with her, my wife, Maria. I’m pretty sure it’s not my child.”
“Really? Man, that’s too bad. That must be tough.”
“It is. Really tough. I’m being asked to make a big leap of faith.
I think it’s the right thing. I had this dream where this angel talked to me. In the darkness, there was suddenly light, and everything was clear, but right now, I feel darkness again. I’ve decided that even if it isn’t my child, I’m being asked to be the father figure in his life.”
Wow, it seems like this guy is in worse shape than I am. Does he really think an angel talked to him? I wonder if that’s even possible. I remember a time of more light in my life.
“I know what you mean. I married my wife, and I was sure it was the right thing to do. We had kids, and at that time, the days they were born were the best days of my life. But now, those thoughts seem like dreams. Sometimes I just feel tired. I’m here to get a tail light fixed, but I feel like I’d rather go on an out-of-town trip myself, alone!”
“Why do you think it has to be so hard? Do you think God really has a plan in the midst of all of this? Do you think it is worth it? Should I just strike out on my own?”
“Someone wise once told me, I didn’t choose this life because of the light that I see every day, but because of the light I saw one day. I often think of that when I doubt the choices I made, or I wonder if I should continue down my path. God does give us lights and moments when everything is clear. Believe in those moments more than the darkness that you feel right now. And help me to do the same! Sometimes it isn’t easy, but I do believe it’s worth it. Hey, man, thanks for sharing with me. I felt like I was complaining to you, but you wound up bringing me out of my funk. Where are you headed?”
“In Pennsylvania? Were your parents in the steel industry?”
“That little town in Connecticut?”
“No, the one in Judea.”
I felt befuddled, a little dizzy, and chills ran down my spine. I looked up and said, “What did you say your name was again?”
“Joseph. Nice to meet you. What’s your name?”
“I’m Joseph too.”
“Well, I better get going. It was nice talking to you. Merry Christmas.”
“Merry Christmas to you too.”
Illustration by YeonJi Pak