I uttered those words just this week while at a Canadian Tire store with my youngest daughter, Elizabeth.
You see I have been subject to a very annoying buzzing sound as I have been driving around in my minivan. It happens the moment I turn my key on to start the van. I immediately hit the reset button only to have the annoying sound reappear every time I turned on my left turn signal. This ever present annoying sound was to draw my attention to the fact that my left blinker bulb was burnt out. And given that I spend a lot of time driving here and there for kids’ activities, you can only imagine my growing frustration. So I decided to do something about it.
I had about an hour of spare time this past Friday morning (a rare thing!) so I decided I was going to fix this annoying problem before I went crazy. (Me and crazy might not be a very pretty sight.) So, I did what I thought every woman might do. I pulled out the manual to the van and searched for blinker bulb (aka turn signal) and hunted down what I would need and how to change it.
So here I am in Canadian Tire with the van book in my hand speaking to the sales agent (who also happens to be a woman) and telling her the exact part I need in order to fix my problem. Elizabeth, overhearing our conversation says to me, “Mom, I think you better wait for Dad to do that.” I looked at her and my immediate, and I mean immediate response was to say, “I’m no sissy!” Now, I’m not saying women that choose to wait for their husbands to fix something are sissys because they are not. I reacted that way because I was confident, in my own mind, that I could do this (I didn’t need Albert to do it!) because the book gave me a step-by-step procedure.
On Saturday morning (I couldn’t stand another day of annoying reminders!) I popped the hood of my van, pulled out the two anchoring pins that held the headlamp, pulled the headlamp from its resting spot, turned the existing socket (that held the bulb) counterclockwise and removed the burnt out bulb. I replaced it with the new one (which I was rather proud of purchasing all on my own!) and then I put everything back together again. Then came the big moment. I started my van, turned the left signal on and jumped out to see if I had done what I had set out to accomplish. Indeed I did! I had successfully, on my own, replaced the bulb in my van. I am driving around now without that annoying sound –though I’m sure at some point, given our van has about 270,000 kilometres on it, that something else is going to go and my trusty (sometimes annoying!) van will bring it to my awareness. (I wish it would sing me a great song or something though!)
So why write about this? First because it is a funny story that I’m sure many of you (my women friends) can identity with. Perhaps you haven’t changed a bulb recently, but you have experienced or sensed at times that because of your gender you were seen as not able or capable of doing something. The second reason I wrote about it was because I was reminded of how necessary having turn signals are. Signals are a means of communication with fellow travellers on the road; signals tell others that we are moving in a certain direction.
Now if you’ll permit me (though you don’t really have a choice because it’s my blog) I’m going to take this in a different direction to end this funny story. I believe that many of us can wander aimlessly in life looking for a sense of purpose and direction. We can often travel down roads that by the world’s standards may seem successful (nice house, nice toys, beautiful family) but on the inside we are reeling. And I believe the answer to humanities deepest need is Jesus. Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life.” Jn 8:12
So, what signal are you following? Is it time to replace the old with the new?
The Reverend Carmen Kampman is a woman on the road of leadership. Ordained with the PAOC, she is a steward of God’s call to women in ministry. She is on staff at Horizon College & Seminary and a graduate student in the Masters of Leadership program at Briercrest Seminary.