The Second Worst Day of My Life

I’ve experienced some bad days in 25 years. Moving from Pennsylvania to Georgia as an innocent 12-year-old kid was pretty sucky. My dog’s sudden death left me in pools of undying tears. Now, add this past Monday to the Worst Day of My Life list.

Monday was horrific.

I took my car to the mechanic because of a check engine light and some rattling under my hood. Turns out Mitsy had just enough juice in her battered soul to travel the 3.9 miles there, because as soon as I parked, she was done. Wouldn’t even start up anymore.

And so began my second most hellish day in 25 years. The second worst day of my life.

With seemingly every passing hour the news of my car, the bill, and the emotional damage rose astronomically. My car would be out of commission for the morning, the day, and ultimately for several days. I cried with my dad on the phone, I cried alone in the back parking lot, I cried to God that this made no sense. This wasn’t fair.

This wasn’t right.

I’d just gotten a total tune-up before driving across the country. I had two exciting interviews scheduled that day and two more the following day — all four kernels of hope, wiped out with no transportation. Just like that.

Mitsy

I cried a lot yesterday. (Did I already mention that?) I went to bed that night, my soul exhausted, my eyes literally bloodshot and sore from all the tears.

This isn’t why I drove 2500 miles back across America.

I’d found a doable place to live with relative ease. I’d garnered four interviews with similar speed. I’d even prayed courageously that one of those interviews would translate into a job by week’s end. That I’d be climbing the financial ladder again.

Instead, I slipped from the first rung and crashed hard onto the concrete below.

It remains to be seen why God “did” this or “allowed” it, or whatever proper theological word belongs in this sentence. I certainly saw a perfect vision for this scary new life in California.

And that scenario was dashed. Erased. Drastically modified.

I still don’t know what’s going on. This isn’t exactly a cheery optimistic post from some Christian Writer Guy. I think lots of people have problems with “Christian” blogs and “Christian” music and “Christian” art in general because it just paints too rosy a picture.

Life is messy. Life sucks sometimes. It sure did yesterday.

It’s annoying to be without a car this week. Annoying to reschedule my four hopeful interviews to some unknown, less hopeful date. Annoying not to be able to pay a car bill as a guy in his mid-20s. Annoying to call friends to pick me up from the mechanic or take me food shopping.

Annoying to burden so many people.

The introspective Christian Writer Guy I am, I frequently ask and analyze why something like this would happen — what God is trying to show me. Was I foolish to drive 2500 miles back here? Was that a huge mistake? Was I arrogant or cocky or proud in any way? Was I just not meant to secure any of those four jobs? Was I stupid to pray such a bold prayer?

What did I do wrong?

Regardless why this crater in the road occurred, one thing is certain: I’m blessed by such a supportive network of individuals. Support that many people simply do not have. Parents to strengthen me in my weakness. Siblings to make me smile in my brokenness. And yes, friends to pick me up from an isolated car shop or drive me to a grocery store.

I don’t want to be a burden on others, but I don’t want to retreat into solitude either. As an introvert with an affinity for me-time, I battle this seeming paradox daily. Since reentering California, I feel led into a distinct season of reaching out.

Asking for help when I need it; offering help when it’s needed.

What’s the purpose of all trials and tribulations? Is it just to “build faith” or is there something deeper beneath the surface? Maybe this is a not-so-simple test of faith. Or maybe there’s something more. I don’t know. Not yet anyway.

All I can do is have faith. Faith that God didn’t lead me 2500 miles just to die in the wilderness. Faith that the heralded Promised Land is perhaps just one phone call, one email, one life-changing new song away.

What’s been the worst day of your life? Have you seen any fruit blossom from that day?

  • Rebecka

    First, I’m very sorry you’re going through such a rough time. Second, oh dear, oh dear how I relate to this post. Long story short, three years ago I got very sick and I require a lot of help these days. Several times a week I eat at my parents’ house because I’m not well enough to cook for myself, they often help me with my shopping, cleaning and laundry. It’s been three years but I still have trouble accepting the help. Don’t get me wrong, I’m super grateful but I don’t want to bother them and I would rather be able to be independent.

    I also keep asking myself all these questions- What does God want me to learn? What is the purpose of my illness? Am I praying wrong? What am I not understanding? And always, always; What did I do wrong? (Maybe you and I both need to give ourselves some grace…)

    Anyway, what I’m trying to say is I can relate, I don’t have any answers for you but you’re not alone. Keeping you in my prayers.

    • TMZ

      I completely relate with that dual feeling of being gracious for any help offered you, but at the same time wishing for more independence. It’s awesome to know that two people going through similar but perhaps vastly different circumstances can resonate with this hard duality. I really appreciate your readership, Rebecka. Thanks abundantly for your prayers; you’re in mine as well.

  • Truly Christian blogs are honest, and this one sure is. I’ll be praying for you and your car, and I thank you for writing so honestly. Keep introspecting, Christian Writer Guy.

    By the way, I love the blog’s new design! More blog headers need vagrant salmon.

    • TMZ

      It’s actually a vagrant trout, but I really appreciate the kind words! On the design and on the content of this post too. Striving for openness and honesty now more than ever. Many thanks for your prayers. You’re awesome.

  • MLYaksh

    I’ve had my fair share of bad days, man (especially with cars- man, I have got stories for you). They suck to high heaven. I personally don’t believe it’s wrong to admit that and just flat out say it without the “Christian” addition of “God’s in control”. Some days suck and that’s just that. God is in control but it doesn’t change what’s happening. I think it cheats God of glory to not admit the severity of a situation- it makes it less spectacular when He works through it.

    With each of my bad dasy, there has always been something from it that has been good. My worst day ever ended in me accepting Christ as my Saviour. Second worst day ever ended in me finally opening up to receiving help for a struggle I had been facing most my life to a guy who is now my mentor and closest guy friend. And every other bad day has been used by God to teach me, grow me, and make me more like Jesus.

    I know God will use everything right now for your good according to His will. But it is still a very difficult situation. I’m praying for you, man. And know that I am willing to help out however I can from 2500 miles away. Love you, my brother!

    • TMZ

      Well said about “cheating God of the glory” when we downplay our hurts and trials. I like that. That’s not to say we strictly complain when life gets hard, but it also means not sugarcoating the truth and lying to ourselves about what we’re going through. It’s been a tough time, but I’m so blessed by such a strong network of believers supporting me in word and prayer. I am so grateful for you and everyone else encouraging me right now.

  • foglight11

    I can totally relate to that feeling of drowning in so much weight from the world.

    Last Friday I was having a really rough time of things. It was Canadian Thanksgiving weekend, and I have spent the past 12 years living far away from my family and eating Thanksgiving dinners by myself in front of my computer. I had a rough day and then was brushed off by some friends which made a little sadder. Then at dodgeball (yes, dodgeball) I was confronted with some cruel people who made some very offensive personal remarks to me. Things that I thought were from days of high school yore.

    I felt so down and miserable, and then I received a phone call from a friend. He informed me that Cindy, the very first friend I made when I moved to Hamilton, was killed in an accident up north. She and I have remained close, and she always looked after me, and brought me leftover Thanksgiving dinners and made sure I was happy.

    Suddenly my sad, depressing day seemed so insignificant. I am still unsure of what my beliefs are, but I keep telling myself that she always gave and gave and she just couldn’t do it anymore, and now she is somewhere that she can take care of us all in a way she couldn’t here.

    Honestly, you’re so right about how an amazing support system works wonders. I am still struggling to breathe, but I know that with everyone coming together, and with Cindy on my side, I will be able to get through this.

    And you will too. 🙂 I will tell her to keep an eye on you.

    • TMZ

      Am so sorry to hear about your friend Cindy. That makes me sad. What an awesome memory of her life though…something as simple as leftover Thanksgiving dinners carry so much weight and meaning. Love. Love is huge. Love carries with it the risk of loss, but it fuses us together during the difficult times. What a powerful legacy Cindy left you and undoubtedly many others.

      Thanks for sharing, Allan. You make me smile man.

  • I’ve been here, too. October is an historically terrible month for me, and I’ve had my share of car troubles (my old car once died in a McDonald’s drive-thru… I envisioned customers in line behind me getting out of their cars to yell at me and beat on my car with their fists… thankfully, I got it started again and coasted my way to a parking lot). Anyway, I thank you for being honest. Frankly, that’s something I don’t always have the courage to do on my own blog, as I always feel *required* to give things a positive spin. But people appreciate honesty, and everything we learn or experience doesn’t have to be optimistic (and the opposite of optimistic doesn’t have to be angry or sullen). Thanks for the reminder.

    • TMZ

      November is usually my historic/horrible month, so I certainly hope this isn’t a taste of things to come. But I totally resonate with struggles to be honest on a blog. You wanna showcase a sunny outlook, but sometimes those horizons are just hard to find. Simply put. And you’re right about the “opposite” of optimistic. There’s always a delicate balance of anger, despair, and hope. Here’s to a more honest year of blogging at TMZ.

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  • Darell

    Hello sorry to read about your car troubles i hope all is well now. I have a few questions if you don’t mind, I’m planning to relocate to California as well from the state of Maryland and i was just looking for some general information since you have already done pretty much what i need to do (driving there) If you don’t mind my asking how much money did you save up for the whole relocating process, did you bring your furniture, Approx how much money for tolls?? Thanks and God bless you again hope all is well with you & your car now..

    • tmz

      Hi there Darell! Thanks for reading my post and commenting. I saved up several hundred dollars before relocating west. Gas expenses, hotels, and ultimately paying for first month’s rent too. It adds up in a hurry. Pretty sure I avoided tolls the whole way. I didn’t bring any furniture and in fact left most my “stuff” at my parents’ house in Georgia. Just brought what I vitally needed and a few personal items.

      My car is great now! After surviving those hellish first couple weeks, it’s been running super.

      All the best in your westward trek! Enjoy the adventure.