It’s mine…?

Yesterday afternoon, I went to the garage and started my car. Well, I attempted to start my car. Nothing. Then, click click click click click click click…sigh. Well, fortunately, we have two cars, and my other half was busy in the kitchen, preparing dinner (everything was wonderful, by the way, including the company–thanks for coming, guys–and the cake!), so I had a way to get where I was going.

I really appreciate my car. It’s a ’93 Tercel, without a single glitzy feature (yes, it does have air conditioning). Good basic transportation. It is a car. Nothing more, nothing less. I am grateful for having it, and it provides me with economical transportation in a not-so-foot-friendly city (that’s another story!). I would have never had it, though, unless I had learned an important lesson about attachment shortly after we moved here.

Several years ago, before we left Toledo, I decided that I needed some reliable transportation (I was driving a very old Ford Escort, on its last leg). I got a great deal on a ’96 Oldsmobile. I loved that car. It was so comfortable. It had every bell and whistle I could have wished for–power everything, and it was roomy with huge comfortable seats. Compared to any of the cars I had owned, it felt like a boat! When I was behind the wheeI of that vehicle, it just did something for me. Maybe a little too much. Well, OK, I was attached to that car.

Shortly after we moved to Columbus, I arranged an audition with a professional choral group. One evening, I had just completed my audition, and was headed south on I-71, sticking to my middle lane, as I often do. As I approached the bend near Crew Stadium, I was suddenly jarred by a feeling that I couldn’t explain, but very soon was able to analyze as a collision. Later on, I was to discover that a semi hit the corner of my rear bumper, continued forward, with my bumper still hooked onto his, and dragged my car down the highway for what seemed like an eternity, before turning it in the opposite direction, releasing it and slamming it against the concrete barrier separating the two halves of the highway. Talk about a time distortion experience–to this day, I couldn’t tell you how long that whole experience took, or how long it was before someone came to my vehicle and talked to me.

Here’s the miracle: I didn’t have a scratch on my body. Not a bump, cut or bruise. I wish I could say the same about my car. At that moment in time, I experienced a major shift in relationship with my car, from attachment to gratitude. That boat of a car saved my life. Anything smaller might have crumpled under the force of the semi. Amazingly, I drove it home. Don’t ask me how I did it. Or how the car managed to still run, after all of that. Once home, I was able to begin to process what exactly had happened to me, and eventually, life’s equilibrium came back. For a long time, I was afraid to travel south on I-71, but even that gradually changed back to normal after a year or two.

So, you know, now come the questions…and I’m not going to ask them! Well, except maybe one…or two…

Oh, I think you’ve already done that for yourself. No point in my doing the work for you. Better that you do it on your own.

And remember, we are not here long. Remember today what is temporary, and what is eternal.

Off to the garage now, to sort out what’s going on with my car. The mechanic says it’s just the battery. We shall see.

Be well, and at peace,

Phil

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