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We Rent Cars

by Lisa on May 16, 2011

My mom and I were talking about miracles today—it’s a crappy day outside, people are trying to push their drama into our lives (it ain’t workin’ by the way), and she’s coordinating all the volunteers for graduation in the freezing cold rain…Plus, her office flooded a couple weeks ago, and she had to move down the hall into a shared office with a huge window to the hallway (she’s now working inside a fishbowl). The result? Interruptions. all. day. long.


I chucked approximately $10 worth (24oz) of juice today after finding a bug in it. I laughed and wished at least one of us could have enjoyed it--maybe he had a sip or two before he drowned!

When I barged into her office this morning after my very last nutrition class of the semester, she was looking over some fallopian tube diagrams (that actually turned out to be route maps for graduation), answering the phone, listening to a co-worker’s vacation story, and answering emails.

I got a little twitchy just observing it…and asked her if she wanted to go on a walk.

She smiled, put down her fallopian tubes, and laced up her sneakers.

We talked about miracles today. My favorite one is that a 14 year-old boy she knows spontaneously got called to receive a new kidney and will probably live, while as of last Thursday, he was probably not going to make it to his next birthday. It also means, though, that someone else did not live.

In between stories, I asked Mom how she can handle all that work chaos, and she responded,

“In those moments, I stop and take a breath and think, ‘Matthew got a kidney.’ Then nothing else seems so serious.”

She also told me a story about her former boss, Jeff, who was also a great friend through more than one employer. They would be in the middle of the craziest most f—ed up (my term, definitely not hers) situations, and they would just stop and look at each other and he would say, “We rent cars.”

Then they would laugh and move on.

That saying was a mini Come to Jesus meeting, as if to point out how funny this little life is that we’re living. We take things oh-so-seriously, and in the end most things don’t matter. We do strange things like force situations to work and damage our health in the process, instead of going with the flow. We stress out over jobs that have nothing to do with life or death or the pursuit of happiness. And we do things like dress up for Halloween, pay people to put paint on our finger nails, and we rent cars.

When we remember how made up and silly all of it is, then the day-to-day hustle can no longer bring us down. In fact, we can use it to be lifted up.

I’m practicing it—it’s fun, actually. And funny.

We rent cars.

What would your call back to reality saying be?

  • Heather @ Where’s the Beach

    Oh it’s so true isn’t it. All the true silliness that we do – like running on a treadmill like a hamster! I mean, it’s kind of funny really. 

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  • cathy

    that’s just awesome that you got to spend time with your mom, today, lisa! sounds like you swooped in and rescued her!
    my mom often uses the expression “life is too short” when either of us is debating whether or not to buy something, do something etc. when one of us reminds the other that “life is too short” it means just go ahead and do it! no regrets in life!
    thanks for sharing your wisdom – it’s so very true that we take minor issues so very seriously sometimes…it really helps when a mom/good friend can help us with perspective!

  • lindsay cotter

    thats such a beautiful story and a great perspective! Thanks MOM! 

  • Rivki Locker

     My ‘back to reality’ saying is this: My kids are healthy and safe. What more can I ask for. 

  • Anonymous

    Oh man- I’ve definitely had days like that…being pulled in 20 directions and trying to remain sane! I love the idea of utilizing a saying to bring you back to whats important/matters. We rent cars is pretty good. I think I should use something about palm trees, as they always make me smile :)

  • Katy

     When I was at my first Navy school, we used to say the phrase ‘Come to Jesus meeting’ ALL THE TIME! Haha. I love it. :)

  • Dairyfreebetty

    Love this!! You and your mom are smart cookies!! :)  
    Mine is somedays you are the bug, some days the windshield! hahaa

  • JL @ HealthyHeyday

    LOVE, LOVE…LOVE this post!  Thanks for putting things into perspective in such an entertaining story!  I hope your weekend is going well and you don’t have to rent cars, for awhile.  :-)  

  • Holly

    It is crazy all of the things we do each day and what we get worked up over.  

  • meri

     I can get a little existential sometimes, and need to remind myself that the little things DO matter, just not as much as the big things. 

  • Faith

    Great story and a great reminder! 

  • Canyoustayfordinner

    I love this post. Because it really means so much. It’s so vital to stop and remember that the world has so much more going on that the one thing you’re worried about. I remember, years ago, when I felt my lowest emotionally, just going outdoors- in any weather- really ‘woke me’ up. It let me know that the world still turns. I found that really comforting- not a phrase, but a feeling :)

  • Beth @ DiningAndDishing

    “We stress out over jobs that have nothing to do with life or death or the pursuit of happiness. ” I LOVE this line. So incredibly true – and a much needed reminder for me today!

    - Beth @ 

  • Samanthaswalton

    i love this.  it is so true. we can make things SUCH big deals :)  

  • Stefanie

    This post is just another reason why I love you! You have this amazing ability to put things into perspective.

    And this sentence is just amazing –> ‘And we do things like dress up for Halloween, pay people to put paint on our finger nails, and we rent cars.’ It seems so normal, but it’s pretty odd when you think abou it!

  • Allison @ PickyEatingRD

    Ohh this is so true.  I love “we rent cars” bc whenever E is getting mad over miniscule things I always stop listening to him and put my finger right on his eyelashes and say “Really?!?”.  He can’t say anything after that  and both of us crack up.  It is so flipping stupid and silly but it’s what we do!

  • Jenny Houlahan

     Lisa, I love this post! You’re so right that there are always people so much worse off and it’s so important to remember that when we worry about relatively unimportant things. I really do lose sight of that myself, quite often unfortunately. 

    mmm my favorite saying, I can’t think of one right now but I do love the “we rent cars” saying! :)  

  • Michelle

     ”The sun will come up tomorrow”  is one my husband uses.  No matter what happens, in the universe it is nothing.  The sun comes up everyday, from the east, behind cloud or not and our issue roll forward.  
    I like “this too shall pass.”

  • Peggy Labor

    I love this saying!  I think I will definitely have to say it more often – because I find myself in those “f-ed up” situations plenty of times! =)

  • Health and Happiness in LA

    Ha you hear people say things like that all the time, because people will get SO worked up over everything and you’re like, “Dude, we make movies. It’s not brain surgery.”

  • sasha@blyssfulhealth

     Love this post. I have a little miracle at home who always brings me back to reality with a smile or laugh. My son had open heart surgery at six months old. He has a unique gift that comes with him, that makes you just laugh and value love and life.

  • Rachel @ The Avid Appetite

    Thank you for sharing this story. So true that we get caught up in being upset over things that we cannot change or do not matter. Love that saying!

  • Gina (Candid RD)

    This is the perfect post for me today, because I’ve been NOT living in the moment, and taking life way too seriously.  My call back to reality saying is “I only have one life to live, and it’s short, so make it a good one”.  Nick wrote me a note yesterday and left it for me with flowers when I got hone, and that’s what he wrote.  Yes, I’ve been stressed, not sleeping, taking things too seriously.  ONe life Gina, make it good and don’t sweat the small stuff!

  • Jess – The Domestic Vegan

    Great post!  :)   Such a great reminder.

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