Life Lessons for Susan

Here's a true story with life lessons:

In days of yore when I was newly married and starting to feel the burden of responsibility, there was one night when I got a phone call from my younger, single and fun-loving sister-in-law, Susan.

Against the advice of her father (who was bothered about the state of the battery) she had taken her car to a town some thirty-five miles away for an evening of fun and revelry with friends. All went well, until on the way home again the car started to blow out steam on a two-lane highway that went steeply uphill for about three miles.

Eventually, the car stopped.

Young and inexperienced, she took the advice of her two male travel companions, parked the car, let it cool before adding two litres of water from bottled drinking water that she had in the boot.

Still the car would not work.

That was when I got the call.

I drove my own car to meet her.

By this time it was the early hours of the morning.

When I arrived, there was a police car
When I arrived, there was a police car..
photo courtesy of Police_Mad_Liam's photostream at Flickr
When I arrived, there was a police car parked behind my sister-in-law's car and she and her two male companion's were being questioned. Everything was above board, it just looked a little strange to the passing officers that two males and a worried-looking female should be at the side of a busy road in the early hours of the morning.

Eventually the story came out. Although the bit about phoning home to Dad only to be told "I told you not to go. You got yourself into the mess, you get yourself out of it," left the officers somewhat incredulous. (I also think they were too young to have teenage children!)

I checked the car and it still wouldn't work.

The water level in the radiator reservoir was low, and I asked how much water they had put in it.

"Two litres - like we told you!" came the reply, "but we didn't put it in there, we put it in here." An oily and grimy finger seen by the light of the police officer's torch to have chipped pink nail polish, could be seen resting on the oil filler cap.

I think it made the police officers' night for them, and they were still trying to stifle the grins as they got back into the squad car. There was nothing that they could do to help, but I was sure the tale would be told in the canteen back at the police station.

I recovered Susan's car home for her the following day.

How is all this relevant?

Well, human life can be a bit like a car. Fine when it's working, but a pain in the posterior when it's not!

But on a deeper level than that though. A car is a combination of thousands of different parts. Some of those parts go to make up systems within the car. So a car has a mechanical system, and an electrical system, a lubrication system, a cooling system and others too. Heck, even some of the systems have sub-systems, like the electrical system has the high-tension (HT) system and the low-tension (LT) system and the lighting system, and the ignition system, and the ... well, you get the idea.

Like I say, human life can be a bit like a car. We have our systems and our sub-systems.

We have our physical life, our intellectual life, our emotional life and our spirtual life. We have our soul and our ego. We have our work life, our family life, our home life, our social life, our financial life, our private life, our personal life, our online life, our offline life ...

Heck, it starts to make a car look simple, doesn't it?

Susan learned some valuable lessons that night:
  • Cars need water to work properly.
  • If the cooling system doesn't work the car doesn't work.
  • Putting water in the lubrication system doesn't help the cooling system.
  • Putting water in the lubrication system doesn't help the lubrication system either - it stops the car working.
  • Doing your own thing or getting your own way isn't always the best thing in the long run.
  • Some people who appear to be restricting you may be preventing you experiencing problems.
  • Whilst people frequently feel able to give advice, they are not always in a position to give sound advice.
  • Just because someone is a friend doesn't make their advice more sound than a complete strangers.
  • Following unsound advice can not only fail to solve one problem but can cause others.
  • Most strangers are friends that you haven't yet got to know, but it is wise to be cautious until you have got to know them better safely.
Most of all get to know and understand the systems in your life!



Life Lessons for Susan

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