An unexpected wave of nostalgia hits as I scrape the early frost off the windshield of my burgundy Impala. The fifteen-year old car will no longer be mine tomorrow. One or two signatures, a pat on the hood, a last drive up the road and it will officially belong to the Bean family. A much-needed, pretty reliable extra vehicle.
I’m glad it’s staying in the family, I think, then chide myself. That’s ridiculous. I’ve never been attached to a car; a tool for getting from Point A to Point B. But this Impala has carried me safely for eleven years. To speaking engagements here and there, but mostly back and forth to work. North and south on Highway Nine, from Yorkton to Norquay, then from Ebenezer to Yorkton, in weather inclement and sublime—some days, true to prairie climate, both. Inside the cozy grey interior, I’ve chatted with passengers. Kept up with the news. Enjoyed classical music and audio books. And in that private space, with no audience but my Heavenly Father, I’ve prayed. Lots.
My iron steed has no feelings. I know this. But I’m surprised by mine. Were the Impala a horse, I’d dissolve in tears at the thought of letting it go. But a vehicle is just a hunk of metal, assembled by human hands.
It’s also my sanctuary. I may shed tears anyway.
The Chevvy was four when I bought it. A rebuild project, rescued from an insurance write-off lot. “My budget is five-thousand,” I told the man who rebuilt it. True to his commitment, he stayed fairly close to that. The car has given me no trouble to speak of, though I’ve banged it up a little. The driver side wheel fell entirely off on the highway one day, rolling to the other side. Human error caused that (remember to get your wheels torqued!) and by God’s design, no one was injured. And way back when, it needed a new fuel pump or something. Along the years I fixed a few other problems. Small things, small bills. Then recently something big happened, generating a big bill.
We’ve made constant repairs to old cars before. I always knew I didn’t want to go there. I’d decided recently that given its age, when the first large bill hit, I’d look for a newer ride. I did. A newer Impala, silver, already sits in the driveway.
All this, I think about as I scrape. Of how many, many times I thanked God for my good, safe car and the kind people who’ve helped me care for it. The mechanics. The tire guys. The Preacher, who schlepped the two sets of tires back and forth to the shop for seasonal switching. He cleaned it out thoroughly yesterday, preparing for its new owners. This car has been more than a safe ride, I realize mid-scrape. It’s been a vehicle of grace. Another evidence of God’s mercy. I am grateful for that. And this: the car will roll on, but God’s faithfulness remains.