Thanks to an ominous noise coming from my front left wheel of my trusty Saturn, I spent my holiday weekend close to home. Although I had no idea what was causing the noise, I kept thinking of a recent caller to Car Talk who had a problem with a front axle. I believe she was warned not to push her luck.
My daughter had recommended Big John’s, a family-owned local shop, so I called them ten minutes after they opened at 7:30 AM. They suggested I come in as soon as possible for a diagnosis, which was exactly what I hoped they’d say.
The men behind the counter at Big John’s were all enormous and enormously tattooed. Most of them sported scraggly beards and jolly smiles.
In the customer seating area there was a sixty-inch tv sporting a duck hunting reality show. I was sorry I’d left in such a hurry that I forgot to grab a book, but noticed a stack of magazines on the coffee table in front of the leather sofa. I was not optimistic that I’d be able to amuse myself.
About ninety percent of the magazines were back issues of Men’s Health or Sports Illustrated. Then I spied Departures, an American Express publication featuring luxury travel.
I decided it was more promising than the other choices, so I began halfheartedly browsing through it. In amongst the ads for expensive watches and hotels, I came across a fascinating story by a writer who had paid a visit to Rumi’s adopted hometown in the south of Turkey.
Yes, that Rumi. The beloved poet, I learned, had been born in what is now Afghanistan, but for most of his adult life lived and wrote in Konya. By the time I finished the piece, I wanted to join the 5,000 pilgrims who visit his tomb every day.
By this time, my car problem was diagnosed and it was, indeed, an axle and bearing causing the racket. I was told it would take about 2 1/2 hours to repair. The jolly man at the counter said, “We’ll let you have the remote for the tv.”
I was feeling pretty jolly myself when he told me my repair was going to come in under $500, about $1000 less than I’d anticipated. I laughed and said I’d call my daughter to come and rescue me.
While I waited for my ride, I decided to browse through another magazine, a thick marketing piece for an MLM company disguised as an issue of Success magazine. It was mostly filled with stories extolling tales of financial freedom distributors of the company had found through their businesses.
I kept turning pages and there at the end was a non-marketing article about the late speaker Jim Rohn. Much of the story was familiar, but at the end of the piece was a glorious tip sheet called something like Jim Rohn’s Seven Steps for Living a Great Life.
One of the tips that got my attention was a call to action.
Rohn said, “Don’t miss the game. Don’t miss the performance, don’t miss the movie, don’t miss the show, don’t miss the dance. Go to everything you possibly can. Buy a ticket to everything you possibly can.”
After my solitary weekend, that was music to my ears (or, literally, eyes). I smiled thinking how inspiration really is every where when you’re open to it, but Rohn wasn’t done with me yet.
“Live a vital life,” Rohn advised. “If you live well, it will show in your face. There will be something unique and magical about you if you live well.”
So I’m happy to report that my car is once again running quietly. And I promised Big John’s I would write a rave review about them on the Car Talk Website so I need to see if I can do so without gushing.
After all, public gratitude for great service is another aspect of living a vital life.
Of course, Rumi knew that, too. “The rule that covers everything is: How you are with others, expect that back.”
I’m guessing the guys at Big John’s demonstrate that everyday. What could be more inspiring than that?