The Good, The Bad, and a Cow

“it seemed good to me”

Luke 1:3


When I was a kid, I heard a joke that went something like this:

A man jumped out of an airplane.

Unfortunately, his parachute failed.

Fortunately, he had a backup parachute.

Unfortunately, that failed too. 

Fortunately, there was a haystack underneath him.

Unfortunately, there was a pitchfork in the haystack.

Fortunately, he missed the pitchfork.

Unfortunately, he missed the haystack.


Now, here’s the question:  is that a good experience, or a bad one?  Was he a lucky man, or an unlucky one?

You could say unlucky ~ and a lot of people would agree with you ~ because the ending (crash-landing on the ground) was bad, when compared with his goal of parachuting gently down.

But you could also say lucky, because he lived through the experience.  It could have been worse. *

{ * Remember that line.  It’s important.}


I thought of this story while on our vacation a few weeks ago.  We had driven up to northern Utah, to the small rural town where my sister lives, and we were headed out for a day trip of driving through the countryside, when we got a flat tire.  Somehow, we had driven over a small metal farming implement of some kind.  It punctured the tire in three or four places, and our lovely drive was now put on hold.

So, bad experience or good?  The view was lovely, in all directions.  It was hot, but not unbearably so.  There was even some laughter, because a few weeks before, my parents had made this same trip to visit my sister, and got a flat tire on their journey.  What are the odds?  So we laughed at the irony while we waited for the Auto Club to come.

I took some pictures of the scenery

IMGP0305  IMGP0304

and a nearby cow


while we waited.

But still… flat tire = bad experience, right?


And then, about twenty minutes later, this happened:


and this:


That’s the Auto Club in the top photo, and a local tire retailer in the bottom.  The Auto Club came because we called them, and the guys from the tire retailer stopped because they were driving by, and saw a car with a flat.  Tires are their business, so they stopped to help.

Now, they might not have stopped if they had seen the Auto Club driver there, but he hadn’t arrived when they looked.  Both cars pulled up on either side of us, at the exact same moment.

We were confused for a few minutes, not knowing who was in charge, or who to talk to first, or why they were both there, but when the story became clear, I just wanted to laugh.  Anything that quirky just has to be God, right?

And here are the three guys, from both places, working together to change our tire:

IMGP0311 IMGP0313

{That’s my brother-in-law on the right, in all his star-spangled glory. 

It was Fourth of July weekend, after all.}


Now, you might be wondering why the Apple of my Eye, and Apple of my Sister’s Eye, didn’t just change the tire themselves.  I can only answer that by saying that there were extenuating circumstances, that I don’t totally understand.  Car stuff.  Suffice to say, they couldn’t.

And the funny thing was, it was such a help having both teams there.  Our car had a jack, but a manual one.  So it would have been very slow going.  The guy from the Auto Club had the jack that was bigger and stronger and easier to use.  And when they got the spare on, they realized it was a little flat.  Fortunately, one of the trucks had an air compressor to fill it.

So, flat tire = bad; but synchronized flat tire changers = good.  Is this a bad experience or a good one?

But wait ~ before you answer.  The story continues.


We went on our merry way, driving on the spare out into the countryside, where we saw elk, tasted homemade jerky, and bought some delicious peaches.  But the next morning my sweetie had to replace that spare with a full, because he’s got big burly man tires on our car, and while our spare was big, it wasn’t big enough.  We had a lot of mountain driving left to do, and the tire experts recommended that we not do it, in an all-wheel-drive car, with inconsistent tires.

Well, replacing that spare was no easy task.  The tire that had been punctured could not be saved.  And no one in town had tires like the ones still on the car.  So we had to purchase four new tires in order to solve the problem.

Four new tires = $$$$ = bad.

But in the end, the tires were put on, and we were able to continue on a wonderful, beautiful vacation.

Vacation = good.


So, would you look back on that whole experience as good, or bad?  I think it’s a choice.  For me, the most memorable part was both of those trucks pulling up at the same time, to give us a hand.  One of them completely unbidden!  They just saw a need, and stopped to lend their expertise.

In the whole episode, marked by good and bad turns, that was the part that made me think of God.  Like I said, so quirky, it has to be God.  So that was the part that stands out to me.

Life is a series of happy events, followed by sad events, followed by joyful events, followed by frustrating events.  One blends into another, days blurring into months, years becoming a lifetime.  We can each focus on the up, and call it good overall, or we can focus on the down, and call it bad.

As for me and my life, I will see the Lord.

~ “Blessed are your eyes for they see,

and your ears for they hear;

… many prophets and righteous men

desired to see what you see, and did not see it” ~

Matthew 13:16,17


3 responses to “The Good, The Bad, and a Cow

  1. Great post – I love the juxtaposition of the seemingly good and bad steps. It reminds me of a line from Doctor Who:

    “The way I see it, every life is a pile of good things and bad things. The good things don’t always soften the bad things, but vice versa the bad things don’t always spoil the good things and make them unimportant.”


  2. Pingback: The Danger of a Fork in the Road | Light Expectations·

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