Will you survive?

I stopped the shaggy wagon at a Chik-fil-a in Temple, Texas. We were on the dreaded post-holiday drive from Dallas to Boerne, near San Antonio. I opened my driver side door, carefully setting it so as not to connect with the neighboring vehicle. The owners of the shiny Cadillac Escalade were in their car.

As I paused to gather wallet, phone and trash from the console, a gust of late December wind blew by.

A southern wind would have conveniently shut my door. But this norther slammed my Chevy Suburban door into the new Cadillac. Crap. Claims, deductibles and body shops swirled in my head like a Texas tornado. I wouldn’t get out for less than $300. All for a little nick in a luxury fender. And I was trying to be so careful.

My options also flew through my mind: break for the bathroom, the interstate, or that popular river in Egypt: denial.

My honor got the best of me as the lady in the passenger seat made her way out of the car. “M’am, the wind blew my door into your vehicle.”

The middle-aged woman and I examined the spot where connection occurred. It was no tiny blemish. A white gash about an inch and a half tall virtually jumped off the crease in her maroon fender. I apologized and hoped she noticed all the mouths I had to feed. Then came the verdict.

“Don’t worry about it. We’ll survive.”

I would expect that response from a rancher in an old work truck. Not from a lady in a new Cadillac. What prompted it on this day? The Christmas season, an exorbitant bank account that wouldn’t notice the repair bill, a true carelessness for the material (not likely for a Cadillac owner)? I didn’t stop to ask her reasoning for fear she would change her mind.

But I did walk away thinking about “we’ll survive” as a life motto. We could certainly do a lot worse.

The phrase speaks of contentment, grace, and a belief things will be okay in the end. It acknowledges that life’s not perfect or fair and that no amount of retribution will make it so.  It keeps one from being too easily offended or knocked off track by the door dings of life.

For a person of faith, the meaning, of course, runs much deeper. “I’ll survive” has eternal implications. See John 3:16.

But even in the here and now, in a world of entitlements, victims and personal irresponsibility, “we’ll survive” is a refreshing mantra. It asserts that one will determine to accomplish the things that are necessary, most important. It prioritizes perseverance.

Colorado mountaineer Aron Ralston provides some inspiration at this point. In 2003, a destabilized boulder trapped him in a remote Utah canyon never to be found in five days of waiting. Ultimately, he survived by amputating his own arm with a pocket knife and then hiking to help.

After the fact, he acknowledged that the accident was no one’s fault but his own. He broke the first rule of hiking alone: inform another of your location.

Like the lady in the Caddie, it now probably takes more than a door ding to ruin Mr. Ralston’s day. “I’ll survive” has a way of softening the space between a rock and a hard place.

Kevin Thompson writes weekly for The Boerne Star in the Texas hill country. He can be reached at kevin@kwt.info.

4 Responses to “Will you survive?”

  1. 1 Helena Hauk January 29, 2013 at 22:47

    How true! – Great job!

  2. 2 Susan Allen January 30, 2013 at 08:24

    Kevin – what a great article!

    Susan (Susie) Allen

    Texas Heritage Bank

    25060 IH 10 West

    San Antonio, Texas 78257


    210-698-8510 (fax)

    Offices in Cross Plains, Boerne and Leon Springs to serve you!!!

  3. 3 Bonnie Westley January 30, 2013 at 11:13

    What a refreshing approach in a litigious society. Nicely done, Kevin.

  4. 4 jessestroup January 31, 2013 at 11:20

    Kevin, Until I can get my password worked out,  I respond to you directly:  That article is so meaningful and full of reality.  Thanks for that.  It is full of grace and very personal.  I really like it. Mega bus has a TX special on for $1.00.  Off to the VA, Jesse

    Jesse R. Stroup

    Director of Spiritual Care

    Lifeline Chaplaincy

    2777 Stemmons Place, Ste. 1020

    Dallas, TX 75207



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