There once was a man who was in the market for a car that was really good on gas mileage, was cheap, and was small (he worked in a downtown area where parking was minimal).
This man found a 2002 Mini Cooper with 56,000 miles on it for a darn good price.
He took it for a spin…
…and then he bought it.
Within a month of owning the Mini Cooper the car began to experience various issues. The issues began with an AC that suddenly stopped working, and then the car began to overheat, and then…in a grand display of frustration…the clutch cable snapped while the man was on his way to work leaving him stranded in the middle of the road during the morning rush hour commute.
The man was not happy.
The man began to wonder if he had made a mistake buying this car.
The mileage was right.
The price was right.
The car SEEMED right. But clearly…all was not right.
Things seemed OK on the surface, but with regular driving it suddenly became apparent that with age (the car was nearly 20 years old) that there were problems below the surface that the man was not aware of.
The man paid to have the AC fixed.
The man paid to have new brakes put on.
The man paid to have new tires put on.
The man paid to have the oil changed.
The man paid to have the clutch fixed.
The man thought, “Surely things will start looking up! I’ve practically replaced the whole car.” But within a few months the car was back to driving terribly. It idled horribly, especially when the AC was running. It was struggling to change gears. The gas mileage was terrible on a car known for having great gas mileage.
“Didn’t I just get a new clutch?” the man asked frustratingly.
Despite the brand name of the car, it was becoming clear that the Mini was becoming a HUGE problem.
In less than a year from being purchased the man took his car back to the transmission shop to have the transmission looked at it because he was getting nervous that the clutch would fail on him again.
Within a couple of days of the car being at the shop, the shop owner called the man to give him the bad news. The clutch was shot. Initially the shop owner blamed the mans long commute for wear and tear on the clutch, but when he got inside of the clutch the shop owner realized that the clutch bearing had broken loose and was causing all of the issues.
The clutch was replaced once more.
When the man got his car back, he noticed that his bad idle issues had disappeared, as well as the awful gear issues, he was getting much better gas mileage, and the car was generally running better than when he first purchased the car.
You see, all of these other things were merely symptoms of a deeper issue. When the deeper issue was rooted out and fixed, the other issues (symptoms) cleared themselves up.
The man could’ve kept on with the issues, and trying to fix AC issues by replacing AC parts. Or trying to fix idle issues with more oil changes or having the idle looked at. He could’ve just kept spending money on issues that he didn’t realize were actually symptoms of a single and far more important issue.
Once that issue was addressed, the other symptoms corrected course on their own.
Also…that man was me.
And that 2002 Mini Cooper is my car.
4 LESSONS FROM THE MINI COOPER
As I thought back over the car troubles I’ve experienced over the last year, I realized there were a few lessons to be learned that I think can relate at a deeper more emotional and spiritual level for us all as human beings:
- I knew an issue was happening after I left the clutch shop the first time, almost the very first day, and I ignored it thinking maybe it would go away. How often do we notice things beginning to creep up and we ignore them, suppress them, and hope and pray they magically disappear? How often does that actually happen?
- Because I chose to ignore the issue, my car began to experience all sorts of other issues that had not existed previously. In other words, issues left unaddressed grow to become bigger issues, and potentially cause other issues. In the end, those problems would’ve likely never occurred had the main issue been addressed immediately instead of ignored.
- I did not want to invest more money into a car that I had just bought, so I ignored it. To fix issues, especially big ones, it is going to require some investment. Usually an investment of time, money, and comfort. But, the payoff in the end is that you will likely avoid paying an even bigger price for other issues that come around that are directly related to the deeper issue.
- I am not a mechanic. I don’t have experience in fixing cars. I had hoped I could figure it out with the trusty YouTube by my side. But, I didn’t. In other words, some issues require the expertise of trained professionals. Drop the pride. Get some help. Getting the help you need may require going to counseling with a pastor, a clinical specialist, or something even more aggressive. But, you can’t always fix yourself, so be quicker to recognize that to get the issues addressed adequately.
I’m sure many other lessons can be learned, and I’m sure you could probably look at the story and make your own applications. But these 4 things are what stood out most predominately to me. I hope they give you some things to think about as you consider the problems you may be facing in your own life.
Take it from me…the last thing you want is to let your mini problems become HUGE problems.