Slogging through afternoon traffic, I saw a pickup truck with a shredded tire pulled over on the right shoulder. The sight brought back memories of my own tire-changing experience on the side of a freeway.
My tire wasn’t shredded. I couldn’t see a nail or screw or razor blade or any of the usual suspects I have a knack for running over, but something caused my tire to go from fine to flat in record speed. An hour later when I was buying a new one, I asked the guy what I’d picked up in the old one.
“Nothing,” he said.
He went on to explain that in the desert—where I lived at the time—tires more often failed from dry rot than from usage or punctures. He showed me the telltale tiny fissures and discoloration on the wall of the tire and mentioned how the heat and intense sunlight compromised the integrity of the tire.
I’d never paid attention to that part of my tires. I knew I was supposed to keep an eye on the tread and air pressure, but I had no idea the sides could rot. And I certainly didn’t know the place I lived could be the biggest reason for it.
But even if I had known my tires were susceptible to rot, I’m not sure I would have noticed it. I had to be up close and personal to see the signs. The tire was off my car in a well-lit mechanic’s bay with an expert pointing it out before it became obvious.
It’s been a few years—I don’t live in a desert any more—yet rot continues to threaten my well-being.
I check my emotional pressure from time to time. I rotate through a variety of spiritual disciplines to prevent uneven wear. But how aware am I of the influence of my environment? How closely am I looking for tiny cracks that can lead to catastrophic failure? Do I recognize the weaknesses stressing my integrity? Or am I at risk for a blowout as I speed through life?
Rot creeps up in those out-of-sight areas of my soul. And the master mechanic waits to guide me, if only I’m smart enough to ask Him for help.