Accidental Car-Jacking

It’s time to be honest. Have you been whining lately? I sure have.

A friend told me a story, and I have no idea if it’s true, but it sure is funny. An elderly Sarasota, Florida woman finished grocery shopping and headed for the parking lot where she found four young men in her car, attempting to steal it. She dropped her groceries, pulled a handgun from her purse and hollered, “Get out of my car. I’ve got a gun I know how to use it!” The four young guys jumped out of her car and ran from the parking lot terrified, like a herd of cats. The lady was shaking so badly she couldn’t even get her key into the ignition. It was then that she noticed on the seat beside her a football and on the floor a 12-pack of beer. She couldn’t remember putting them there. And suddenly she realized, I’m in the wrong car!

Her own car was parked nearby, and the key worked fine, so she put the groceries in the back seat, drove to the police station and turned herself in. The sergeant listening to her confession couldn’t stop laughing. All he could do was point across the room at four pale young men who were reporting a car-jacking by a crazy old woman. “You gotta find her, she’s on the loose. She’s got a gun, and she knows how to use it!”

She learned that if you’re gonna have a senior moment, you might as well make it really, really memorable.

Be honest now. Do you feel a little bit like that old lady? You think your car, and your world, has been taken over by idiots? You read the newspaper, you watch TV and you think, there’s no hope. You go to the coffee shop and you sit with the armchair analysts whose drinks are half full and seasoned with lemons and you start gettin’ cranky. I understand.

I do too sometimes. Just ask my wife. I worry about the next generation. I think, No way. You can’t run the planet; you don’t even know how high to pull your pants. Sometimes I find myself in the exercise room with a guy who plays screamo music. It sounds like someone trying to kill chickens with a jackhammer. I wonder if there’s any hope. But as I’ve gotten to know him, I’ve discovered he’s a lonely kid whose dad walked out on him. He doesn’t need another cranky old geezer in his life.

The trouble with focusing on all that is wrong is that it chokes our effectiveness and drains the joy from our lives. Psalm 42 gives us the remedy. In the Psalm, the writer tells us how his heart is breaking, he’s discouraged, forgotten, mocked, he’s even remembering how much better things used to be. And then he writes this; “Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God! For I will yet praise Him—my Savior and my God! Each day the Lord pours His unfailing love upon me, and through each night I sing His songs, praying to God who gives me life.”

That’s the answer today for bringing the hope back, for learning to laugh again. Turn to God and engage in a little healthy self-talk. Preach at yourself a bit. Simply say as the Psalmist did; I will put my hope in God. I will thank Him.

Hope opens doors that despair has slammed shut. Hope looks for the good in others instead of nagging or gossiping. Hope doesn’t grumble about what can’t be done, it finds a way to find a way. Hope sees problems as opportunities. It is always moving forward, never stuck in the past. Like the sun, hope casts shadows behind us as we move toward it. Where are you putting your hope today?

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Phil Callaway

Phil Callaway, the host of Laugh Again, is an award-winning author and speaker, known worldwide for his humorous yet perceptive look at life.

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