42/CHRONICLESnlessons to be learned at the poker table.nA friend, who claims to be quotingnMark Twain, says that the two bestnthings in life are playing poker andnwinning, and playing poker and losing.nIn North Carolina, the emphasisnwas on playing poker; in Washington,nit’s on winning and losing,nPeter J. Donaldson is on the staff ofnthe National Academy of Sciences,nbut isn’t defined by what he does.nLetter From Torontonby James L. SauernA Chesterton Adventure, ProtestantlynConsiderednThe last speaker ended at 10:30, Saturdaynnight. I was at St. Michael’s Collegenin Toronto for the 50th AnniversarynConference, commemoratingnG.K. Chesterton’s death. A memorialnMass was scheduled for the morningnwith Cerald Emmett Cardinal Carter;nbut as a Biblical and Reformed Christiann(that’s evangelicalspeak for Protestant),nI thought I might leave withoutndisturbance. No loss of acquired merit;nno penalty for renouncing this task ofnsupererogation. We separated brethrennare given a special dispensation, Inthink. Check it out in Vatican II. Innany case, I had left my wife and threenchildren back in Buffalo with my parentsnand wanted to get back to them. Instill had a two-hour trip ahead of me.nLike a true Hobbit, I longed for home,neven the surrogate home of a kinsman.nI had had my adventure: a trip tonCanada. I was there; and now, likenBilbo Baggins, it was time to go backnagain.nI strolled to my car, a 1972 AMCnMatador station wagon. Owning annold car is an act of faith; the triumph ofnhope over reason. I have long held thatnthe automobile was not a recent invention,nas many imagine, but was actuallyngiven to mankind at the time of thenFall. It is part of our curse to bensaddled with these motorized cartsnuntil Christ returns, in order that wenmight learn patience. Suffering, afternall, produces patience, and cars certainlynmake us suffer.nMy intuitive theology proved correct.nMy car wouldn’t start. The Ad-namic curse was still in full effect. Annelectrically arcing solenoid barred mynpath like an angel with a flamingnsword. I was not allowed to travelnhome. I made my way back to thenconference hall for help. Jeff and LaurienCarson, a Canadian couple whomnI had befriended, helped me jump thenbattery and wiggle the finicky solenoid,nbut the engine just wouldn’t kicknover.nAs I pondered my predicament—anbroken car, a stranger in a strangenland, with $40 in my pocket—I rememberednone of my favorite G.K.nChesterton quotes: “An inconveniencenrightly considered, is an adventure.”nNow was the time for putting thisnwisdom to good use. One could eithernstand around lamenting one’s helplessnstate or just enjoy it. I chose the latter.nChesterton would have been proud ofnme.nProvidentially, as we EvangelicalnCalvinist types are known to refer tonfortuitous events, a tow truck appearednout of nowhere. My Canadian couplenwent on their way.nOne of the unusual things about thenconference had been the number ofnnon-Catholics in attendance. I metnan Orthodox professor and a Pentecostalnminister. There were a numbernof Anglicans whom I met as well.nTwo Evangelicals addressed the conference:nLyle Dorsett, curator of thenWade “Christian Writer’s” collectionnat Wheaton College, and J.H.nMcClatchey, an English professornfrom the same institution. MichaelnCoren, an English journalist, addressednthe conference as a Jew lookingnat Chesterton and the accusationsnleveled at C. K. because of his brothernCecil’s anti-Semitism. In many ways,nChesterton’s admirers form a bodynuniversal; Chestertonian Catholicismnis an ecumenical movement in itselfnThe tow-truck fellows couldn’t getnthe Matador started, so I was towed tonthe all-night station down near thenlake. It was there that I met my threencompanions for the evening, three automotivencomforters who would consolenme with their mechanical wisdom:nHewey, Dewey, and Lewey. Incalled my wife at 12:00 and told hernnot to wait for me. My evening was innthe hands of God.nNow Chesterton says that “everynman is an allegory. He is an earthlynnnstory with a heavenly meaning.” And Indon’t doubt for one minute that this isntrue. In each of these automotive mavensnone could see the reflection of hisnMaker. And, excluding the pagan notionnof chance, I realized that I hadnbeen thrown into their presence for anpurpose.nHewey, for instance, was a parablenof the common man, a decent chapnwho pumped gas and seemed to mindnhis own business. He appeared to benthe only one who took in money.nPerhaps he was the only one whoncould count.nDewey, an oriental chap, was mynmechanic. One didn’t doubt that henwas thoroughly familiar with his copynof Zen and the Art of MotorcyclenMaintenance. He could hear thensound of one cylinder clapping. Hengrinned a lot and shook his head:n”Won’t work. Can’t get it to work,” henmotioned at the engine. How true.nThis high priest of technology had hitnupon a truth to which I could give fullnassent. That old Matador seemed tonhave fought its last fight.nLewey, who, to be truthful, had anscrew loose, kept talking to himself,nmuttering about what a rotten worldnthis is. He was one of those peoplenwho always seem angry. Damn this,ndamn that. He kept asking me aboutnvarious aspects of the engine. It was allnCanadian to me. He’d flick his cigarette,nutter an oath, and storm oflF.nI felt like Job. I was robbed ofneverything familiar, suffering undernthe weight of possible financial ruin,ngiven three comforters who could notncomfort. Behind my worries concerningnthis world’s trivialities was a hiddennplayer, the mysterious God who ordainsnall things. Like the characternSunday in Chesterton’s Man Who WasnThursday, our Maker sends us crypticnnotes in the events of our lives. Nothingnhappens without cause; nothingnexists that is not used to reflect hisnglory. Even the rebellious sinner unwittinglynreflects his divine origin; asnChesterton says in his poem Ultimate:n”I am,” he says his bankruptncreed;n”I am,” and is again a clod:nThe sparrow starts, the grassesnstir,nFor he has said the name ofnGod.n