No, that picture isn’t our RV. We took the Shabbat RV (version 1.0) into the RV shop to be looked at after the leaks and other problems we experienced trying it out our first Shabbos. You know it’s never good news when the mechanic calls and says, “We stopped working and need you to come look at something before we go any further.”
So, between work and taking Sam the beastdog to the vet for his annual checkup, we went over to see the damage.
There was WATER standing inside the RV in places under where you couldn’t see. As in…puddles! The entire front area where my daughter and I slept was rotten and needing replacement. There was also black mold there, which is hazardous to breathe. Even worse, that was only one part of the RV and they hadn’t even begun looking further elsewhere, but they could see signs of surface damage. The cost to fix all this is more than the Shabbat RV is worth.
I’m not sure if we say Baruch Dayan HaEmes for an RV, but if one did, now would probably be the time.
The good news is that we had only put down the initial payment on it and my husband may be able to talk to the seller and work something out. He had to have known about the leaks and may want to avoid any potential legal trouble from trying to sell a RV with black mold. The bad news, of course, is that this may mean we’re without Shabbat accommodations a while longer and those much celebrated Seder invitations…might not work out after all.
My husband’s initial reaction was one of disappointment in many directions. Disappointment at the RV itself, at the seller, and himself. He felt responsible for making a bad decision, one that could cost our family. My reaction was relief. I am glad we found these problems before anyone got hurt or sick. What if the rotten part had fallen in with someone there or while we were driving? What if one of us had developed serious health problems from the mold? Far better to find out now. Money is money, but our family’s health and safety are a higher priority. I also felt calm. So…this isn’t the plan. That just means that there is something else that will be and that this was just a necessary step along the way. B”H for helping us find these issues so soon and for guiding us away from something that could have been dangerous or unhealthy!
I was listening to a podcast while I worked today. It was not religious but more about generic “spirituality,” but it had a good point that I’ve heard repeated in Chassidus. The author speaking talked about how often, what seems like a side path or even a wrong turn or dead end is actually an essential part of the journey. We have had a lot of those, but I firmly believe that they’ve all been essential to prepare us for whatever is next. Each disappointment was to strengthen us or guide us. Some taught us important lessons, others pushed us to something better. None of them were wasted time, even the ones that were a result of our own mistakes.
I remember hearing once, in our brief adventures trying out a Reform shul, a Rabbi there say, “Well, sometimes G-d makes mistakes.” Besides being a primary reason we decided that the shul wasn’t a good fit for our family, the very idea to me seemed a frightening one. The very idea that the divine power that creates everything at all times could be mistaken? That’s almost more chilling to me than the idea of there being nothing else to existence than chance. I choose to believe that there is a plan and purpose to our lives and that everything is for our good. I choose to believe that G-d loves us, is benevolent and just, and that nothing and no one is ever a “mistake.” After all, after everything was created, this being outside of time who could see it all, from beginning to end did say, “It is good.”
And in my own experience, often the worst things that have happened, after enough time, show themselves to be the catalyst for the best.
And a dead RV is hardly the worst that could happen.
So, tonight, it’s taking care of my sickly son who has slept all day with some kind of flu and providing comfort to my disappointed daughter and husband. Setbacks aside, we still have so much to be grateful for and so much goodness ahead of us.