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Attachment to the Inanimate

I’ve had many cars. If I’m being honest, I’m not a very good car owner. I don’t take time to adorn or embellish them. I’m not one of those who maintains a dedicated schedule of polishing and waxing though I do make certain that the check engine light doesn’t stay on. I don’t abuse them and I don’t name them. Well – I tried it once. His name was Cicero. I don’t know why – it just happened.

But there was one. The blue one. We had years of togetherness. My energy was absorbed within its interior as I lived my life. I shared precious moments. We brought home the baby. Later I would have an epiphany there within its protection – a glance into the rear view mirror at a stop light at the old farmer’s market just before the right turn. I peeped her sleeping-baby-stillness … and saw the face of God. Even still later, an unspoken covenant of care – sacred cargo onboard and a defensive posture against frustration and road rage, bridge tolls and detours, fast food, and window stickers stored in the pockets of the car seat.

We had times for discovery – vacations and day trips, lock-outs at the 7-11 and temper tantrums (mine not hers). Oh and what about the singing at the top of my lungs between the time music betrayed me and now? I miss the screaming release of stress and frustration and laughter and introspective satisfaction.

I’m reminded of that car every now and then because I’m sad about how its life ended. I thought I had taken care of that well. I gave the car to a single mom hoping to make her life a little easier. It was the legacy of that car for me so I wanted to continue that notion. She was ecstatic. I was happy. But I found out after a couple of years she sold that car to someone who didn’t care for it well at all. It ended up as a battered old abandoned vehicle, unwanted and discarded. It deserved so much better than that.

Intellectually, I know that blue car had no feelings. Yet – I still have this emotional attachment to my perception of the ways it took care of us; the ways that God existed there with us. Some days, I feel silly thinking that. Some days, I am glad to feel silly because I know my heart is grateful.

Isn’t it interesting how the power of symbol can interrupt us? How the very real emotions tethered to these inanimate objects can inform our choices and our actions when we take the time to savor the reasons. I guess these are what our personal treasure chests are made of. Thanks be to God for them.

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