(Bart (short for Blessed Red Truck,) the 2010 Ford F-150, meets Hindeleh, the 2012 Ford Escape, in what one of my Facebook friends dubbed, "Matchbox car meets Tonka Truck.")
2 Corinthians 5:17:
So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new!
Well, it wasn't exactly "becoming new" but there was a lot of new going on at my house a few weeks ago.
I had figured out the Mitchmobile's days were over.
Now, everyone knows I am a pickup truck kind of person, but for several years I've owned Mitch's old 1999 Dodge Caravan. I bought it after he went to assisted care when his dementia worsened to the place he could no longer live alone. The plan was to use it for road trips, and to save gas by not taking the truck (which, frankly, seems pretty much settled at 16 mpg.)
Of course, I sort of forgot that all the vehicles I ever knew Mitch to own were a piece of crap. I think I deluded myself by saying, "Oh, but I have been more involved with maintaining this one than his other ones." Well, that much is true--but the van was still crap. I just managed to maintain crap better than he could. So most of the time it sat with a dead battery (it had some electrical problem I never could quite figure out what it was) and it was singularly un-handy to get it running--so it sat some more.
Over the winter, I decided I would trade it in for something smaller, with four wheel drive (since I do live on a gravel road that is prone to being quite muddy).
Let me start by saying I've never owned a 4 cylinder vehicle in my life. I've always had a big ego about that. I thought about doing the unthinkable--buying something other than a Ford, AND buying something that wasn't red. I've also only owned two vehicles in my life that were not Fords. I owned both of them under duress. I've only owned one vehicle in my life that wasn't red, it was dark blue--and a non-ford (1981 Buick LeSabre.) I REALLY owned that one under duress--it was only a "backup car" and I had it less than a year. I compromised--I'd still get a Ford, but I would entertain the possibility it would not be red, and let the sales folks find "what's out there on the computer," and let the color choice fall to some degree of chance.
So I decided on the Ford Escape, and told the sales guy, "Ok, here's my wish list--4 cylinder, 4WD, navigation package/Sirius Radio, and NOT black, and NOT white." As it turned out, the best deal was the red one--it was $900 cheaper than the steel blue one and the exact same vehicle--in addition to my wish list, it also had the "moon and tune" package--deluxe stereo, and an automatic moon roof. At the time, I was like "so what" about that.
It was harder to part with the Mitchmobile than I thought it would be--even though its parting shot to me was for the battery to die again. I found myself strangely morose all day. Turns out I was surprised to recognize it as grief. For almost 20 years of my life, I'd been embroiled in the never ending drama of Mitch's crappy cars--picking him up when they broke down, fussing at him to maintain them better, riding in them and grousing about them for some reason. I had lost another piece of Mitch. Dementia is such a strange state. The person is alive, but in a way, they begin to die and we grieve by inches. I had loosened another tile in the flooring of grief.
Luckily, new vehicles have a way of mending that sort of thing, and it was a joyful day, indeed when I picked up the Escape. I ended up giving it a Yiddish name, since it was from the line of nice Jewish Mitch's vehicles--Hindeleh, which means "little chicken." It reminded me of a little red hen.
Of course, then comes that "getting used to a new vehicle part," and the problem when old things pass away. We become so used to the familiar. I am used to something with a bigger engine. After a few expeditions with it, all the things that were NOT familiar started showing up in spades--the wind blows it around on the highway more. The shift knob is on the floor, not the steering column. It has a lot of different buttons compared to the truck. Figuring out how to make the seat comfortable was a trick--it's not as "sit upright" as a truck--and the biggest blow of all--I was no longer one of the bigger things on the road, except, of course, for semis.
So we had a few days of "Hmmmm...I'm not sure I'm gonna like this." I was seeing everything it was NOT. I think that tends to be how many of us view change when old things pass away. We are not ready for anything to be made new, because we have to adjust to it.
Then, on the first warm day of those wonderful little "false spring" days we have in Missouri in February, and the thermometer crept up to about 60, I was driving along and thought, "Hmmmm. Wonder what it feels like driving around with the roof open..."
I've never owned anything that even part of the roof comes off. Have hardly even ridden in a convertible, other than in a parade, sitting on the trunk and waving. But having the sun come in through the roof did seem rather pleasurable, even with it closed.
Well...that open moon roof was exhilarating in a way I did not expect. There's a freedom, a turning back the clock, even, to days when the open road was an adventure--old memories of Spring Break, vacations long past, childhood memories when none of us had A/C in our cars and the only break we got was what we called "470 air conditioning--four windows open, going 70 MPH."
Turns out the thing I did not care whether I had it or not, was the thing I began to love the most about the Ford Escape.
Seems like this is the transformational part of old things passing away and new things coming into being--the discoveries of joys which any previous knowledge or experience escapes us. Seeing things anew. Surprises which managed to evade our oh, so careful plans, our negative scrutiny, our cynicism. We're so cognizant of what we lose, we don't even comprehend what we don't yet know, and if we can let go of the old, we have the opportunity to embrace the new.
So it is with Lent, I believe. We get so bound up in "giving up"--avoiding our vices, shunning our treats, and thinking "no pain, no gain." It's the opposite that should be our goal. What new thing do we uncover that might bring us joys we never had the means to know, because we cling so tightly to what we do know?