Monday, May 19, 2008

Saving My Battery

There is a funny thing that people in Bolivia do. It happens at night. You will be driving down the road, and there will be buses, taxis, trufis (like taxi/bus combos), motorcycles, mopeds, and cars driving with their lights off. Sometimes they will turn them on when they approach an intersection, only to shut them off immediately afterwards. The other night I almost hit a guy driving a black motorcycle wearing a dark coat and bluejeans at 10:00 without any lights.

I asked a friend who has lived here for a long time why people do this, and he said it is to "save their car battery". I pointed out that after the engine is running, the lights are operated by the alternator, not the battery. "Doesn't matter", he said, "they do it to save their battery."

Jacob asked me when I told him why the cars didn't have their lights on...."What are they saving the battery for? Isn't it supposed to run the lights? So, if I understand it they are going to wreck a $3,000 car by driving it at night because they don't want to use a $30 battery?"

I was thinking about this. You know, the purpose of the lights on a car is to help you see, and be seen, at night. This desire to save the energy is actually keeping the car from accomplishing it's purpose...safe driving at night. Wanting to save a little life on a cheap battery is endangering the lives of the driver and others. Doesn't it seem a little like shooting yourself in the foot?

Then I thought of us. How often do we miss our purpose in life because of a misconception or a mindset that is erroneous. Take fellowship...true, Christian fellowship where you pour your life into other people and they pour their lives into you. The kind of relationship that eclipses friendship because it is based on the Blood of Jesus and eternity, not just an affinity. Christian fellowship and community...it is one of the purposes that we were created for.

But, we want to save our battery. And even though real fellowship will charge us, we think that it will drain us. We have to work late, go to soccer practice, dance recitals, and children's events. We have to do errands, clean the house, and watch TV. We really don't have the time to invest in fellowship...that takes a lot of effort and we need to save our energy for. . . . . driving without a light.

Guys...living on the mission field has opened my eyes to the real need for fellowship. And this is just one of the many things that I think I sometimes get confused on. I drive in the dark and miss my purpose because I am conserving energy that I will never use.

The next time you turn on your lights and see the road in front of you, ask yourself...when was the last time you turned on your life to see the road and the people ahead of you?

Till Next Time,

Joe

5 comments:

ethan said...

Great post, I just wanted to say that I've been reading your blog for quite a while, well since you started it but this is my first comment. :-)

Keep up the great work

elise said...

I would like permission to use your "Saving My Battery" in a publication that I put out for a prayer group.

Anonymous said...

i miss you


<3 seth

pyrotechny said...

Thanks so much. I heard about you from ethan, (above) I so appreciate your perspective. It sometimes takes absurdity to explain the absurd. (smile) Keep it up, and God bless you.

Anonymous said...

I am a Bolivian, let me just point out some things in this funny situation...

You have seen how old our cars are there, and how they keep running even when some of those should be trashed, so "common bolivian guys" know the alternator does its job once the car is started, but then, Why to turn the lights off ?

well...

1. The vehicle or bike might not have legal documents, so you hide. which is still dumb.
2. Its almost impossible to get a DL in Bolivia, so you drive hiding. Still dumb, still calls people's attention.
3. No SOAT, (liability insurance)required by law. so Hide, Still dumb.
4. Why to fix your car or bike when you barely use it. Only demanded when there are strikes, blockades or some kind of crazy situation on streets. Otherwise, Public transportation is just fine, always cheap !
5. ...or Just Plain Hiding, escaping from whatever they have done, deciding to drive/live in darkness. No DL, No Insurance, No legal Documents, No Inspection Sticker, just many violations so...they decide to live hiding. Happens in Bolivia, Happens in the US...and Happens in our own lives.

Peace Out !
------------

Thoughtfully,
your Amigo Boliviano :)
God Bless