Priorities (and minivans…with air conditioning)

First world problems can be interesting things.

Often kinda funny, too, in a humbling, softness-exposing way.

For whatever providential reasons God has for orchestrating things the way He has over recent years, they’ve called for my family to experience an unusual amount of air conditioning problems in our home and car. (Again, this is only “unusual” if you’re in the remarkably blessed position of living in a civilization where AC is the norm.)

Thankfully, the home AC issue was completely resolved when we moved into a new rental pad late last year. The car-based “ordeal” began late last summer when the AC died in our fairly new (2013) Hyundai Elantra (I put ordeal in quotes here to again emphasize the first world silliness of anyone confusing this with a Big Deal of the life-and-death sort).

The Elantra A/C died late enough last summer that riding out the inconvenience without paying for fairly expensive repairs wasn’t really much trouble at all. Then, this year, as  Middle Tennessee shifted into its predictable very-hot/even-more-humid gear, we found a repair shop that thought they could make a fix happen for about $120. When that fix lasted three days (three glorious days!) before our little Hyundai crashed back into no-AC mode, we realized that this might be a good time to look for our next ride.

Rather than drop near $1,000 into a car that we’d already put 143,000 miles on, and with the back seat of that little ride already jam packed with three baby/child car seats, it seemed like this might be a good time to consider something bigger. Something better. Something perhaps with convenient sliding doors and room for the next 2-3 little Busslings, should the Lord decide to honor our hope for more of those treasures.

Before I go on, I feel compelled to laud the overall performance of our Hyundai Elantra. That car has been fantastic for us. With the exception of the (admittedly annoying) AC issue, it’s performed like a champ without so much as a hiccup over the course of the nearly four years and almost 150,000 miles that we’ve put on it. So please don’t take anything I’ve written here as a slam on Hyundai or its Elantra. Ours has served us very well.

But hey, we have three precious kiddos and want more, so…

I was forced to consider some things.

I was forced to confront some things.

And finally, by the grace of God in accordance with His perfect plan for my life, I had to finally confront and conquer my deep personal aversion to…minivans.

Of course, I wasn’t opposed to other people having or using minivans. More power to ’em. Oh sure, I’d make the occasional joke about them and their choice of rides, but it was all meant in good humor and an at least relatively harmless manner.

It was the thought of me ever owning or driving a minivan that made me squirm.

But then a funny thing happened in the form of my First World AC issue, which turned out to be the first domino in a string to fall, leading me to test drive a minivan and…[insert drumroll here]…like it!

A lot.

Next thing ya know, I’m really digging the comfort and convenience of the very rides I was openly mocking only days earlier.

Then, after a couple weeks of hunting down and test driving various used Honda Odysseys, Dodge Grand Caravans, and other offerings from the once mocked and scorned minivan camp, we settled on a nifty Toyota Sienna.

And I’m thrilled!

Giddy, even.

It’s kinda weird and more than a little awkward at times, but overall I know something good has happened here and I’m very thankful to God for it – all of it, including the AC crash that kicked the whole thing off.

And to all those people who, whether you realized it or not, were the object of my minivan-based belittlement over the years, you have my apologies to go along with my newly submitted and graciously accepted application to join in your awesome club.

See you on the road, my Brothers and Sisters! May the world watch in awestruck wonder as our comfort and convenience loaded wheels carry our ever-growing families to the countless victories that are sure to come as we, by God’s grace, get our priorities straight.


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3 COMMENTS

  1. Thank God you got a Sienna and NOT a Caravan. I have owned six and I am a mechanic (though not a body man). What happens to Caravans at about 150,000 miles is the computers start showing the quality of their components and circuit design flaws. One other thing that really irritated me about Dodge and now Chrysler is that they lie like cops. The '96 and that style had a major problem with the serpentine belt shooting right off the slick idler pulley the instant it was hit was water. Rain into the windshield motor trough drains right over the serpentine belt on the right side of the car. The dealers categorically denied a universal problem, lying through their teeth because I later met other Caravan owners who had experienced the same thing and the $120 fix which was a slotted idler pulley and double ribbed serpenting belt.
    Toyota doesn't have that problem. Keep the oil clean, change the antifreeze every two years with good stuff from Toyota, and you are looking at brakes and tires out to 300,000 miles.

  2. Enjoyed your post. A Toyota Sienna was my older grandson's choice of a great family vehicle. We minivan users have nothing to be ashamed of.

  3. Great post, I loved it! A little light hearted commentary is nice on occasion. BTW – I have had a mini-van for many years, and I love it! It not only hauls kids, it hauls all the tools I need for a job, as well as being able to haul my car trailer with a car on it. Welcome to the club! 🙂

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