From Mikmethath on the north it curved eastward to Taanath Shiloh, passing by it to Janoah on the east.
- Joshua 16:6b
As the king of Israel was passing by on the wall, a woman cried to him, “Help me, my lord the king!”
- 2 Kings 6:26
A certain man from Cyrene, Simon, the father of Alexander and Rufus, was passing by on his way in from the country, and they forced him to carry the cross.
- Mark 15:21
I looked for “passing by” in the NIV and other than a couple of references to Jesus passing by, this is what I got. The first is the allotment of land to Ephraim and a landmark passed by on one side. Thus, the landmark was not part of Ephraim territory. Odd that they use that way of describing it, because the landmark is not moving, thus cannot “pass by.” But you get the point.
The next two passing by Scriptures lead to trouble. Simon of Cyrene is conscripted into carrying the cross for Jesus in the Scripture from Mark, but the Scripture from 2 Kings is major trouble. Ben-Hadad is laying siege on Samaria. The people begin to starve. A woman wants justice from the king. Her neighbor tricked her into killing her son so that the two families would not starve, but when it came time for the neighbor to kill her son, she hid him. Yes, rather disgusting.
But many of my thoughts this week have not led to a single idea for a post, but rather a lot of random ideas with no real focus. I’m just going to write about what has happened as we “passed by.”
I was taking my wife home after dialysis early in the week. It was about noon and the sun was shining. As I approached a curve, I saw a cyclist coming the other direction. I slowed. Pennsylvania has declared small two-lane roads as being bicycle paths, even though cars and trucks share the road. We are to give them the same space that we would give a car. But they do not drive nearly as fast, and most of the roads in our area have no place to pass safely. As a result, cars will pass in a no passing zone to resume their speed, usually 10-20 mph over the posted limit, risking a fine of several hundred dollars. Thus, in slowing down with the cyclist in the on-coming lane, I was prepared for trouble. Trouble came in the form of a car coming around the curve, going to fast. I slammed on the brakes and stopped – stopped completely. The road had no shoulder. At that location there was a culvert and guardrails on both sides of the road. I had nowhere to go other than forward or backward, and cars were behind me.
The on-coming speeder passed the cyclist and barely missed the cyclist and hitting us head-on. If I had not stopped, I would be writing this from my hospital bed if I were still alive. But the oddest thing happened. The speeding car that passed a cyclist in a curve, over a bridge/culvert site, on a double yellow section of road – multiple traffic violations – he took the time to flip me the finger. For those not of the US culture, this is a vulgar, obscene hand gesture that carries a variety of meanings, but total disrespect and hatred being near the top. His thanks for me saving both of our cars from total destruction – anticipating, slowing down, and stopping – his reward for looking out for others was to flip me off.
But he was just one of the people “passing by.”
Then, I got the oil changed at the dealership. I dropped my wife off for the next dialysis session two days later and I got to the dealership a few minutes after 7:00am. But I was second in line. I agreed to wait. I had my Sunday school material to review. I was researching the quiz that came out this morning. And I had the tablet to play some puzzle games, if I got my work done – but I never turned it on. I was set for a long wait.
After about thirty minutes, the nice lady at the service desk came in to talk to the lady who arrived before I did. She talked about the oil change being done, but she added, “As for you check engine light. We checked all the codes and there is nothing that jumps out as the problem, but as we were messing around, we noticed that your gas cap did not click when you closed it. Here is the deal. We can charge you another $200 and we might not solve the problem, or we can charge you $20 for a new gas cap. It’s up to you.” The lady went for the gas cap.
Why would a bad gas cap give you a check engine alarm? There is a sensor near the place where you fill the gasoline (petrol) tank. It gathers information from various fumes that are collected and sent back to the engine; one of those fumes is the evaporated gasoline. If the sensor gets too much oxygen or unburned fuel, it thinks that the engine combustion system is not working correctly. Thus, the cost of fixing it might mean taking the engine apart. But if the gas cap is loose, air can leak into the fume line and throw the numbers off. If your check engine light comes on after you add gasoline, run the car for another refilling of the tank. If the check engine light does not go out, and your gas cap “clicks” showing that it is sealing properly, then you may want the mechanic to check the codes. Your vehicle owner manual may even give you that advice.
The young service lady came back in five minutes to tell the lady customer that her car was finished. They had run the car after replacing the gas cap and clearing the computer codes. No check engine light, but if it lights back up, call them.
Great, they are already working on our SUV. But wait. “Another $200?” Did that mean that they charged this lady over $200 to do an oil change because the check engine light was lit? All they had to do was plug in a display and read the explanation for the error codes. “Another $200?” For thirty minutes of work?! Yikes!
When I last did hourly work for a customer, the company billed the customer $175 per hour. I was paid a salary, but my pay was about 25% of what they charged the customer, unless I worked unpaid overtime and the hourly rate for my efforts plummeted downward. Why so much? You had to pay for the salesman who mostly failed in selling the things that I did for the company. Most of the sales for my work were due to me talking to customers, writing the proposals, and then negotiating the details, but the salesman occasionally sent me an e-mail to say that a customer might be interested. Some of that $175 per hour went to a lot of things like: upkeep of the building, the accountant, the electrical bill, the internet service, and the lady that did filing – not filing paperwork!!! Heavens no!!! Filing her nails and daring you to put paperwork on her desk, a desk which already had paperwork so high that most people could not reach the top of the pile to add more. But $200 for a half hour when a little computer did the real work? I had been in the wrong line of work!!
My oil change was less than $50, and they rotated the tires and washed the car with a few spritzes of air freshener inside. It was worth the wait, and I managed to work the entire time that I sat in the waiting room.
More people to provide words of gratitude as they were “passing by.”
Then we went to the super store for pharmacy supplies (no prescriptions), department store items, and groceries. On the way from the pharmacy section to the grocery section, I got stuck behind a slow moving cart, pushed by a woman who was fairly young, but so, so slow. She talked to her husband, and they had a boy trailing behind. I could not pass. They blocked the aisle. Snails could pass, but I could not. The boy, maybe somewhere between 9 and 12, was not using a belt for his pants. I noticed that the boy’s pants were falling down. The boy was wearing diapers, a popular adult brand. When the pants suddenly fell to his ankles, the boy pulled them back up. I had seen too much. I ducked down a side aisle and went the long way to the grocery section.
As I worked off the shopping list that my wife had written in cursive. I went down the aisle toward the aisle that had soup. My wife’s cursive is lovely. I have difficulty with cursive as I have done so much in the engineering field by printing in block letters or typing my reports, proposals, and textbooks. I tip my hat that her cursive is so beautiful and easy to read. But she also has a tendency of writing very small and my eyesight is not what it used to be. The tiny letters run together. According to what I first read, I was looking for “1 can of cream of cherubim soup.” I may not have read it correctly.
As I turned down the soup aisle, the three people that I had turned down a side aisle to avoid were approaching from the other direction. I had not seen the full-frontal view of this family. The woman pushing the cart was wearing a tank top, and full-frontal view adequately describes the scene. No underwear of any kind and fabric so thin that you saw much more than you wanted to see. I averted my eyes, pretending to be searching for just the perfect can of diced tomatoes, and I rushed past them. I quickly grabbed a can of cream of chicken soup, no looking for best price. I hope my wife did not mind the substitution, and I nearly ran to another aisle. Note: My wife had written Cream of Chicken. I may need new glasses. And how would you extract cream from cherubim anyway?
And after being checked out by a very helpful lady, who I thanked profusely, we made it home.
Yet more people “passing by.”
There is still one more day of driving my wife to the dialysis center left this week. I do not know if I can take any more people “passing by.”
God puts some people in our path so that we can show His love toward others, and I think He puts others in our path to test us, to see if we will react in a loving way. What will you do as you meet other people “passing by?”
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.