Note: this piece was previously published in a slightly different form in 1999.
The golden morning sun poured into the bedroom as I arose for yet another week. Life had once again welcomed a new day sure to be filled with excitement, challenges and more of the same routine experiences of every day life.
Or so I thought.
You see, that morning wasn’t just any morning; it was Monday, March 15, 1999. I don’t know what makes this day of the week so magnetic to disaster or inconvenience. I’m not sure I want to know. However, as each week passes, I winced along with the rest of the working world as the dreaded Monday came along.
I suppose I’m a little better off where Monday is concerned as I wasn’t popping Tylenol for a binge-drinking induced hangover from the night before, or trying to recuperate from massive hiking or camping. No, it was just Monday.
I’m convinced that the 1999 calendar was the same as Julius Caesar’s, which had the ‘Ides of March’ as a Monday. Superstition would put many under the couch with trembling, but not me.
Golden sun or not, Monday is Monday. Monday has been the culprit to ruin many a cool spring morning, and will even come disguised as another day of the week (except Friday, of course). “Ah, yes!” I said as I stepped out onto the porch on this, this Monday the Ides of March.
My ‘85 Oldsmobile started right up, which was a rarity for cool mornings, and all the signs pointed to a good day in every way. I had with two great jobs that paid the bills, preached at my church on occasion, and had friends with whom I could relate and pour my life as a Christian Brother and minister. That would surely be a blessed Monday.
Years ago, I submitted my life to the Lordship of Jesus Christ, and sometimes I seem to forget that He, like any good Teacher, gives pop quizzes. And, like most good teachers, He never quizzes or asks questions to obtain information; but for us to find out what we know and how we can grow. That day was certainly no exception.
The ‘quiz’ began shortly after noon. After a brief errand, I decided to check out a local auto salvage yard (okay, it was a junkyard) to look for a replacement shifter handle for my car. This seemed menial enough, so I pulled in and started the adventure.
The salvage yard was literally several acres lined with hundreds of old, wrecked, and otherwise out-of-commission automobiles. For those who’ve never been to a junkyard, the experience is best described as the exact opposite of the new car lot. Aisle after aisle was filled with cars that each had their own story to tell. Some had a “$495 cash” sticker still on the windshield left over from their last attempt at being sold. Others were stripped of their engines and transmissions, and still others were barely a frame and hardly recognizable as a certain make, if it were not for the row in which they lay.
After a futile search of about fifteen minutes, I decided I could continue to use my broken shifter handle until I could afford to buy a new one as an after-market item. By then it was about twenty minutes before 1:00, just enough time to wolf down some lunch and get back to the office. I started back for my car (one of the very few on the lot that was operative), and reached for my keys in what was now an empty pocket.
Where were my keys?
After the initial shock and realization that I had just lost my keys in the midst of a sprawling, snake-infested junkyard, I began to backtrack. After more than three hours and four trips around the entire property, I realized that those keys were nowhere to be found.
It was then that I discovered that Monday was a living thing. It wasn’t just any life-form, though. It was a genuine monster. And it had long, sharp teeth. I knew about those teeth especially because it had pounced, and had taken a firm grip with its sharp teeth into my butt. Not only had it pounced on me, but those razor-sharp teeth were gnawing away. And it wouldn’t let go.
Early on, I called my supervisor and let her know what was going on. But after the end of the second hour of searching both she and I got highly irritated (although for different reasons). I needed to be at work, and my work needed me to be there. My second call was little more than a pathetic attempt at whining. Monday, you see, was still gnawing on its prey. I bid my farewell to my supervisor after we both realized that my returning to work on that afternoon was highly unlikely.
I immediately called a friend of mine who suggested that I call Danny, who might be able to help (one would think that after the first hour I would have gotten a clue about that!). So, Danny came to the junkyard to help me out. When he arrived, I suggested we go to my apartment to retrieve the second set of keys to my car. On any other day, it would have been a wonderful solution. But that day, you see, was Monday.
My apartment was about a half-hour’s drive each way from the junkyard, and when we finally arrived it was almost 4:40 p.m. I took my newly retrieved key and inserted it into the ignition. I held my breath as I turned the ignition and sighed when I realized that it wouldn’t turn. That tingling on my rear returned. Monday had just sunk its teeth even deeper.
I tried in vain to turn that key four or five times more. There was a part of me that longed for the Terminator to happen by so he could break the lock and I could get out of that junkyard, but ripping apart my own car wouldn’t bode well in the long run.
I called my second job and told them of the situation, and that I’d be a few minutes late (I hoped!) for work that evening, we called a locksmith. My friend offered to pay for the locksmith, for which I was highly grateful. When the locksmith opened the car, he realized that the ignition already had an after-market lock in it, and he couldn’t re-key it. It’d have to be replaced; for a fee, of course. More gnawing.
Since there weren’t any phasers or ray guns handy to vaporize myself into nothingness, I just stood idly by as Danny and the locksmith made the necessary arrangements. Thirty excruciating minutes later, I was off and running in my car. Of course, that was only four and a half hours after I wanted to leave. I guess we can’t get everything we want.
I sped home to change into my pizza delivery uniform and was out the door in ten minutes. They were somewhat understanding of my day, and the rest of the night went smoothly…until my hearing aid battery started draining. I didn’t worry about that too much since I knew that it was due to be changed. I had even picked up a package of batteries that morning just in case. But when I changed clothes between the junkyard and the pizza delivery job, I left the batteries at home.
That gnawing on my rear returned yet again, and the Monday Monster took a few more nibbles.
Finally, my luck changed. An hour after my battery started to drain, I was given a delivery less than four or five blocks from my apartment. I took the opportunity to swing by and get a fresh battery. After a quick change, I was back in business and back to the duties at hand. The rest of the evening was just as uneventful as the morning had been before the vicious Monday monster pounced.
When I returned home for the evening, I was relieved, stress-free and happily restful. It’s amazing how well the Lord can keep us even through the most frustrating of circumstances. It’s even more amazing that His grace keeps us going when we’re thinking more of expletives than on worshiping His majesty during times of adversity.
As I reflect back on the attack of the Monday Monster, I realize that even when I was deep in its grip, and my heart was crying out for a hand grenade or a sub-machine gun or even a phaser, I had somehow maintained my cool. No one’s head got bitten off, and even the junkyard attendant was able to leave unscathed.
Now, I’ll quickly confess that a few less-than-spiritual words came out of my mouth, so I’m far less than righteous. I’m learning that the ever-appropriate razzberry is a wonderful substitute for potty mouth words any day when in the presence of others!
What’s the lesson? Why would I have to endure such an episode of frustration? Well, I’m not sure. But knowing how the test results came in, I’m quite certain that more is in the future. Because of the Biblical truth, “it is through much tribulation that we enter the kingdom of heaven” (Acts 14:22), I realize that I’m on the right track.
Come what may, Mondays or even Fridays. Jesus is still Lord, and I’m still a sinner in need of a savior. It’s sometimes nice to be reminded!