Wednesday, October 24, 2012

I'm Not Done (or, Time to Vent)

I was going to bed, but I'm waiting for the nighttime cold medicine to kick in, so I may as well finish what I started.

I loved my first car. It was a 1983 Subaru GL-10, and it belonged first to my grandfather and then to my dad. He used to drive me to school in it. We'd listen to Larry Burkette, and I tell him I loved him, and he'd go off to work.

I had to sell that car because it was 13 years old and the engine was going out. If I knew then what I know now, I would have rebuilt the engine. Instead, I bought a red Pontiac I hated. I paid it off and drove it until it almost died, and I bought a white Suzuki I hated. I paid it off and drove it until the engine seals starting leaking.

Three years before that happened, I started praying for a new car. "Lord, I'm gonna need a car eventually. I'm gonna pay cash for it, so I know it won't be great, but I'd like as nice a one as I can get, please."

I've prayed that for 6 years. All I wanted was a dependable car I didn't hate. I wouldn't go over my budget. I would take my time. I would listen hard for God's leading. I'd listen to the counsel of God-fearing people who knew more about cars than I did.

Twenty-four days ago, I thought God answered my prayers. I found a mini-van. I even liked the color. I wasn't pushy. I didn't demand that God give me that van. I was willing to drive away and keep looking because I knew God would answer my prayer for the right car for me. If that wasn't it, I didn't want it.

Circumstances unfolded in such a way as to convince me this was the vehicle God meant for me to have. The price came down further. The two men who went with me (one a mechanic) gave the green light. There was a cd of a sermon from a guy with my brother's name stuck in the visor, for heaven's sake. And I liked it. I really liked it. I handed over the cash, and I drove home happy. I had plans to vacuum it and pay for car washes and drive it for years and years. I didn't care that it had a little rust on the bumper. I was my Lavender Squeak, and she was beautiful.

Four days later, I ran the van into a retaining wall in the parking garage at work.

God gave me a beautiful gift, and I broke it. I didn't mean to, but it was broken, and it was broken badly enough the insurance adjuster gave me the choice to total it.

What does that mean? Does that mean this wasn't the van I was supposed to have? Does this mean I can't have a nice vehicle that I love the way I loved my Subaru? Does it mean nothing at all? And what would that mean? That God would give me the car I wanted and not care that I would break it? Why would He do that? Yes, it was an accident, but He could have prevented it. I would rather He'd given me a POC car if He knew I was going to break it. What am I supposed to learn from this? That God is too stupid to grant the request I don't know I should make, like "Lord, please don't let me run my new van into a retaining wall"? He's the creator of the universe. Shouldn't He know I don't want to do that?

Do you think it sad that smashing my 14 year old van would rock my world view? It took me by surprise, I can tell you.

But how do I run to the same Guy who could have prevented all of this and ask Him to fix it when He knew it was going to happen and did nothing? That says to me it was supposed to happen. My beautiful gift was supposed to be smashed. Why? To teach me some lesson? To provide an opportunity for growth? To reinforce that life sucks? I'm pretty sure I don't need that reinforced. Besides, the God who knows me knows how thoroughly I learn a lesson and how rarely it is the lesson the teacher intended.

My only conclusion at this point is God hit me with a 2x4 for no particular reason at all other than He can. I won't say He doesn't care about me. He made it quite clear that He does. But He doesn't seem to care about this, and I can't quite forgive Him for that.

I keep trying. I keep trying to humble myself and look on the bright side and be the happy little disciple and all I can manage is the fatalism of "none of it matters, so I'll decide not to care." I keep thinking I've made it, too, until something else comes up.

Such as...

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