After all these years, I finally realized that cars are similar to people. Part of this realization came about when I recently remembered the time I ran out of gas at a most convenient place. My car stalled out at the top of a hill, which, to my pleasant surprise, descended into a town, allowing me to I coast the rest of the way, right into a service station where I refueled. Recalling the times of not paying heed to the gas gauge and running out of gas, this is the only time I did not have to walk. The memory of that wonderful experience got me thinking that cars are like people; they both have gauges.
Gauges show how the car is running. They give warnings when something is wrong and needs attention. When we maintain the car, the gauges tell us all is okay and we travel with a sense of peace and safety. But when maintenance is needed, the gauges give us warning signals, and if we ignore them, our troubles are likely to increase. In addition to a fuel gauge, the car has a temperature gauge, and if the car overheats, it’s best to stop and find out the problem, or risk blowing up your engine. People are similar. We also have gauges and we call them feelings. Feelings can be good, telling us things are running okay, or they can be troubling, indicating something is wrong and needs attention. One of those feelings is anger, and like our car, if we overheat, we better stop and figure out the problem, or risk blowing a gasket, in which case someone, including oneself, is likely to get hurt. The rise of current-day shootings is a case in point.
As we do with automobile gauges, we must also do with human gauges. We must listen to what the warning signs are telling us, for if ignored, our troubles will increase.
As we do with automobile gauges, we must also do with human gauges. We must listen to what the warning signs are telling us, for if ignored, our troubles will increase. However, knowing there is a problem with the car, or with our feelings, may not tell us what to do to fix it. Fortunately, the auto manufacturer supplies a manual that tells how the car is supposed to work and it often explains what to do when a certain problem occurs. Likewise, the manufacturer of the human body has also equipped us with a manual telling us how humans are supposed to work, giving instructions on how to manage our feelings. In the human creator’s manual, we can find help on how to handle feelings of fear, anxiety, depression, anger, guilt, grief, loneliness, jealousy, superiority, resentments, worthlessness, failure, hopelessness, and a host of others.
Another way cars and people are similar is that both die. I don’t know about you, but I’ve been getting quite a few calls from salespersons wanting to sell me an extended car warranty. That means I can buy additional protection for my car so that if something goes wrong, I can get it fixed and extend its life. When I tell them my car is a 2001 model, they hang up. The car must be too old for a warranty. That happens with cars. They get old, wear out, die, and end up in a junk yard. The same happens to humans. Our bodies get old, wear out, die, and end up being put to rest in a cemetery or some other place. I have friends who care about cars. They like to retrieve them from their graves and restore them to good working condition. The same hope is true for humans. Their maker cares about them and is able to bring them back from the dead. In the owner’s manual we are told how that works.
Many people are convinced they do not need the owner’s manual to learn how to properly assess and treat their cars, or their feelings, or their inevitable death.
Many people are convinced they do not need the owner’s manual to learn how to properly assess and treat their cars, or their feelings, or their inevitable death. After listening to the pain of many individuals throughout my lifespan, I am not sure ignoring the owner’s manual produces the best results. I’ve witnessed too many suicides, ruined marriages, torn relationships, fragile self-esteems, acts of violence, anxiety-laden people, child abuses, and on and on, to be convinced. Plus, I know my failures and difficulties in overcoming my own feelings. There is more to maintaining a good life than human wisdom knows. Personally, and it always involves one’s personal choice, I choose to side with the human manufacturer’s offer, “Everyone who hears my words and acts on them, will be like a wise man who builds his house on the rock” (Matthew 7:24).