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A hope note

‘It’s just a flat tire.’
It was the first time I’ve had a tire blow out in decades. The flat stranded my wife and me on busy Interstate 65 last weekend for more than an hour.
I was proud of the way we kept our cool and put the flat in perspective. We found ourselves expressing gratitude that the blowout had not thrown us into a collision or into the guardrail or across the median into the path of another car, that we were not on a tight schedule, that it had not happened at night or in a downpour, and that we had a cell phone and could call for help. Worst damage done? We were inconvenienced a little. And would be out the cost of a new tire.
Today, while having a new tire installed, I found myself sharing the waiting room with a man about 60 and a woman about 30. I was reading a book. They struck up a conversation.
I overheard her talk about her autistic child and how she has him in a special school and how he bangs his head into the floor and she has to use all her strength to restrain him and how her husband couldn’t take the stress of it and walked out on her, taking with him all the money in their bank account.
The man reciprocated with a chronicle of the surgeries his wife has had the last few years for brain tumors and how they have no health insurance and how deep in debt they are.
They took some comfort in the tire store’s 90-Days-Same-As-Cash plan.
My take-home lesson? In life, there are brain tumors and there are flat tires, and I must never confuse the two.

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