I’ve had more than my fair share of ‘oops’ moments lately:
I reversed into a wooden fence post – little ‘oops’!
I cycled headlong into the back of a stationary car – big ‘oops’!
But at least I can say it wasn’t me who extinguished the sun.
So what shall I confess first?
Well, the wooden fence is just rather boring: cul de sac+ big lorry in the way+ tight turning space = ‘oops’ .
Riding my bike into the car was tad more interesting – and would have been worthy of ‘You’ve been Framed’ if only someone had been filming. I was 20 yards from my own front door, head down, picking up speed and looking at my feet. I looked up just in time for a close up view of car rear (ie 6 inches away!) No chance of braking I hit it head on, executed a perfect sideways roll onto the grass verge, bruising my elbow and shoulder and splitting my helmet from front to back (but, hey, at least I was wearing a helmet!). I even rolled back on to my feet. The whole thing was seen by the two people in the car behind me who kindly stopped to ask if I was okay and (even more kindly) managed not to laugh at my stupidity even though their parting remark was the somewhat predictable ‘you need to look where you are going!’ Oh, really? You don’t say.
Anyway I hung around and confessed up to my neighbour, who I’d never met before because they’d not long moved in. (‘Hi, welcome to a street inhabited by idiots who ride their bikes into stationary vehicles’, not perhaps the best opening line of conversation). Nearly vicar people are not allowed to dent their neighbours cars and keep ‘schtum’ – come to think of it, ordinary people aren’t allowed to that either.
So now we are waiting because, yes, there was a dent – a small one made by my handlebars, I’m guessing it will be an ‘ouch’ amount in £’s. (My bike was fine, phewee! I checked it over before I even looked at my elbow, sad I know!)
Anyway, at least it wasn’t me who extinguished the sun. My beloved works at a place that does research into cars. One of the most exciting things about his place of work is the Climatic Wind Tunnel. This is a building that can be made to reproduce every kind of weather condition imaginable: minus 40 degrees C to 55 degrees of heat. Roaring winds and glorious sunshine. All this is for the purpose of testing cars.
Last week, a rookie got behind the controls, went to reset the operating parameters and ‘BANG’ – he extinguished the sun. That is to say he blew a few lightbulbs… 700 lightbulbs to be precise…
7oo light bulbs that cost £10 each!!!! (And you thought you had a bad day at work).
The man in charge of the facility had to be informed and it was his reaction that became for me the most remarkable part of this story. He didn’t blow his top, he didn’t raise his voice, he said ‘Hmm’ very mildly and then said,
‘ I think we ought to look at the set up procedures to try to ensure that doesn’t happen again’! 7,000 £’s of sunshine gone in a pop and all he says is ‘Hmmm’! What a nice man, what a very, very nice man. I’d like that man as my boss, or my neighbour! (No reflection on my boss but then I’ve not caused equivalent mayhem… yet!)
This man’s response reminds me of a lovely phrase used to describe God in the Psalms: ‘God is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love’ . My own beloved husband has received my confessions with commendable calm (outrageous indifference over my bruised elbow but ‘commendable calm’ all the same). What a relief this has been and what a relief it is that when we go to God and say ‘Look I’ve been a bit of a plonker’ he is ‘compassionate and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in love’.
‘Now, Lord if you could just give me eyes in the back of my head and while you’re at it, help me make better use of the forward looking ones…’