By Kenneth Stepp
Those that know me, know that I have a collection of favorite stories that somehow reappear years later as life lessons. I’d like to unwrap one of those today. I used to be in the car business, I had some dealerships and spent decades knowing the business well. It is because of this that some friends believe me to be an expert in cars, or at least, better than they are.
Years ago my pastor was searching for a car for his oldest son, Josh. Josh was turning 16 and it was time he had his own wheels. My pastor, Kevin, or PK as many call him, asked me to help. One day he called me, he sounded excited. He had found a shiny red Porsche, it was affordable and fun. He asked if I would meet him and take a look. The story begins here.
I honestly can’t recall where we met up that day. I do recall the car he had me look over. I remember looking under the hood, under the car and a basic walk around. The car looked good and was built for fun. The problem was that it had been driven hard, too many mountain roads at high speeds to be a keeper.
I thought this was a great time to tell PK about what I had learned about choices. It seems that whatever I had searched for in my life, something I wanted always showed up before what I needed. There was a time, or even seasons in my life when my wants seemed to stop me from getting what I needed. I would choose the want and never see the need.
As I shared my theory with him, and I’m not sure he bought it, he said, so the right car will now appear? Yes it will. And you will know it when you see it. He took the Porsche back and I went back to my office and waited. I wondered what would happen next and I’m guessing PK did too.
It was 6:00 am the next day and I was driving to my office, my phone rang, it was my best friend, David, he was the used car manager at the local Mercedes Benz dealership. I bought a lot of their trade ins for my stores from him. David was an early riser like me and he knew I’d be up. I answered and he said, I traded for a gem last night and it’s yours. I turned my car towards his office instead of mine. I felt fate was afoot here.
I pulled up and parked, he walked out to meet me. Check this car out, he pointed to a beautiful red Acura coupe. I walked around it, sat in it, and basically knew… How much, $4000.00 he said. I told David I’d be back to pick it up with a friend. I waited long enough for PK to get his day started and called him. I have your son’s car, Meet me at my office, we’ll go pick the car up.
Kevin was thrilled when he saw the Acura, it had perfect service records, new tires, and it was flawless. His family had that car and passed it down to the other kids for years. The Acura was his future, the Porsche was simply a distraction. The principle of something we want will always show up before what we need does and has held fast in my singles journey as well.
There will always be a shiny red Porsche before the much needed Acura comes along. The Porsche had too many miles put on it and all while going far too fast. It’s hard to resist the Porsche, and a few times, I took it for a spin because it looked like it would be a fun ride. And it was always fun. But one can’t run at those speeds long term. Eventually, someone else is running at blinding speeds in the Porsche you thought was yours.
You see, what we want momentarily and what we need are always two different things. As a single man, I’ve had something shiny get in my eye a number of times, as I age, I know to wait. Shiny is simply a distraction and what I need will always follow. Choosing someone permanent over someone temporary is never easy. I’ve walked past the Porsche this time. I’ll wait for my Acura this time.