How letting go of an old car brought up memories, attachments and most of all, thanks. It’s not the stuff we need attaching to, it’s the gratitude.
I’m probably the only person who would burst into tears on the way to pick up a new car — and then come home and write about it. Yep, that’s me. I literally had tears streaming down my cheeks as I pulled into the car dealership. And of course, a sentimental song played through my rudimentary radio speakers as a last serenade on the way there. They weren’t tears of excitement, they were of parting. Goodbye ol’ friend.
I know we aren’t supposed to have attachments to things and in most instances, I really don’t. But I’ve been driving that car for over 10 years. My attachment to her is sentimental…not practical. Heart not head.
We’ve literally driven through a lot of life together — ups and downs, feast and famine, fear and faith. We took care of each other. No, she was never the latest luxury model off the lot, she was a solid-as-a-rock SUV that I leaned on.
She was my ‘soccer Mom’ car and we had each other’s backs.
I always laughed that we were kindred spirits — and that both of us were holding up better than our age! Ha.
I had no reason to consider replacing her, until recently when it became abundantly clear that it was time to shift. The writing was on the wall — and on the auto repair bills. Even when we don’t like letting go of things, they have a way of letting us know: it will be OK. The time has come. Things end.
It sounds a bit silly for one who never put a great deal of emphasis on the kind of car she drove, to suddenly get completely mushy about it. However, it wasn’t about the car per se, it was actually about the immense gratitude I had for the ‘ride’ and each and every memory that has led me to here.
You see, those imperfect car panels held those memories and they all came flooding back as I patted my dashboard, as I regularly did, and gave my final thanks before bidding her adieu.
Thanks for 150,000+ miles, for keeping my family safe, for getting me from many point A’s to many point B’s. For transporting a little boy (who grew into a man) between countless sporting events. For all the road trips. For allowing lots of rowdy, sweaty kids to squeeze in. For helping the resident teenager pass his driver’s test. For driving us to the airport when we took said teenager to begin his first year of college. For all the hospital visits to see my Dad before he passed. For bringing home the ashes of our beloved family dog. For the muddy boots, the skis, the bikes, the luggage, the sandy feet after trips to the beach, the grocery bags and camping gear. For navigating mountain life and snowy winters. For it all. For being a time capsule of my heart.
Even as I hurriedly emptied out the car before trading her in, I pulled things like doggie poop bags from the glove compartment for all those ‘just in case’ moments. Our sweet girl has been gone for over a year — though a jolt, it was like receiving a nod hello from my furry friend. And I don’t know where this was hiding, but I actually pulled out a baseball — and with it a video stream of memories.
It’s not the attachment to the stuff, it’s the attachment to the stuff that happened within the stuff.
A car is just a car until it carries your precious cargo.
It’s about allowing yourself to sink into profound gratitude and to feel it all up.
And trust me, sitting in my brand spanking new hybrid car with all of its bells and whistles, oozing of new car smell, helped ease the sting of sentiment. Yes, chapters end, but I wanted to jot down these feelings because our lives are chock full of ‘stuff’ that has become a part of the fabric of our hearts. Most of them fade into the background of daily life unnoticed. Notice them. You won’t regret it.
When we allow ourselves to give thanks for the seemingly innocuous things sprinkled about us, it’s a good day even if you shed a tear or two. New car, you’ve got some big shoes to fill.
You may also enjoy reading Losing My Beloved Dog: A Love Letter to Guiding Eyes, by Terry Funk-Atman