I really liked that car
- Malc Seaman -
...more True Stories...

We are very proud of our daughter. She’s a nurse. Ever since she was little, she was going to be a nurse and as soon as she reached the age she could go to nursing college - she was away!
Emma was just seventeen and a half when she started her training and every Sunday, after she had been home with us for the weekend, we would drive her back to her room at the nursing college where she stayed during the week. We realised how incredibly determined she was to become a nurse - staying in that tiny room, away from home, with very basic cooking and washing facilities and her only just turned seventeen.

One Sunday - Emma had at only been at College for about a month - we drove her back as usual. Emma had brought some extra clothes from her room at home and we had to carry her heavy cases packed with her things up two flights of stairs, so on this occasion, I parked the car just outside the accommodation block as close as I could.
As usual, the whole family had come for the ride, so after the goodbyes, Darryl helped me and Emma carry the bags upstairs to Emma’s room whilst Sue and Matt waited in the car.
We had not had this particular car very long. It was a very nice estate car – automatic and very comfortable. I really liked that car.

We got the bags to the top of the stairs and had just put them into Emma’s room when suddenly we heard a shout from outside “Fire, fire!”
We looked out of the window to see the source of fire and saw that it was our car that was on fire! There were huge flames leaping from underneath the bonnet (hood).
I turned and ran for the stairs. Racing headlong down the stairs I was shouting “Get out of the car, get out of the car!” Matthew and Sue were still in the car! I was frantic - it might explode.

As I came running out of the door and around the corner of the block I was so relieved to see that Sue had the good sense to get herself and Matthew out of the car and were standing some twenty feet away. What a relief!

But now we had a car in flames parked just under the window of one of the rooms and I was thinking if it goes up – we’ll burn the building down!
Almost as I thought it a complete stranger who was passing by as all this happened came over and said: “We need to get the car away from the building.”
As he said it he lifted the tailgate of the car and before you could say “Call 999” he was in the back of the car over the seats and had released the handbrake and was out again.

With the car now free to roll we grabbed hold of the back end and started pulling the car away from the building. With a few huffs and puffs we managed to get it clear.

While were pulling the car away from the building someone had actually called 999 and the Fire Brigade was on its way.

Well, fire brigade or not – that was not going to spoil the fun and excitement for the lads (also Nursing students) in the next block and out came one of them armed with the fire extinguisher from the building. He ran around to the front of the car and let it rip! He jetted the foam all over the front end of my car and in a moment had fulfilled almost every little boy’s dream of becoming a fireman. But the Fire Engine arrived and he was ushered away by the real fire fighters.

Hooray! These guys will rescue my poor burning car. By now the bonnet was black (not the nice original metallic light green paint.) Hooray!

What was I cheering for? They had no intent in rescuing my car – they were just concentrating in putting out the fire under the bonnet - at any cost. And it was at a cost.
Taking no chances here. No risk in trying to release the bonnet catch from inside. Oh, no. Out came our hero’s crow bar and wham! He had stuffed that nasty giant metal toothpick into the gap between bonnet and wing of my lovely car and with a great “eeeeaarkkkk!” The bonnet was up and in an instant our hero’s friend was there with his hose pipe, pumping gallons of foam into my engine bay.

Well, that did the trick. The fire was out, the building was saved, the student amateur fire-fighter was disappointed that it was all over…. and my car was ruined.
When I looked into the engine bay there was just a mess of blackened metal, a pile of smouldering plastic and rubber parts and lots of foam.

So now we have a dead car and we are late for our church meeting (I was supposed to be baptising someone) and unable to get home.

I telephoned a friend to let him know that we were not going to make the meeting and he arranged to come and collect us as soon as the meeting finished. We spent an hour or so with Emma – all of us squeezed into her tiny room, perched on her bed waiting for our lift.

We were collected and taken home by our friend and so ended our rather eventful Sunday afternoon.

I really liked that car. But it was ‘a gonner.’ Burnt out, useless and now worthless too.

But when I reflected during the evening on the events of that afternoon it became clear that we had just lost a car.
That’s it - a car. Not the building and not any of the loved ones that were at risk when the fire started. I had much to be grateful for and all I could do was moan about the loss of my car!

Perhaps sometimes our lives can be like that. We grieve over the loss of the ‘things’ that are of little or no consequence - and miss the blessing of being with friends and family - which are far more important and infinitely more precious.

God sees us that way. We are precious in His sight and of great worth to Him. So precious are we to God that He came to earth in the form of man (Jesus) and gave Himself as a sacrifice for us - to pay the price for our sin. God never let anything stand in the way of His love for us.

We need to realise that ‘things’ are replaceable (the insurance company paid out for the car and we bought another one) but people are not.
Life is precious and short enough. Let us therefore ensure that our time on this earth is spent appreciating our loved ones and let us each make sure each of us realise God’s love for us and respond to His call.

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosever believes on Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”
(John 3:16)