After learning that Lavender Squeak would be repaired (minus my $500 deductible), I found some semblance of balance. God would restore my broken gift and take care of me like He always does.
I took it in for its first oil change. When I went to pick it up, I discovered my beautiful van has the design flaw I read about as the one possible caution for this otherwise four and a half star reviewed vehicle.
Apparently, for no discernible or repairable reason, the van's anti-theft system will shut it down at random for four hours to two days at a time. Meaning, without warning or hope of repair, I will be stranded somewhere, at some point in time, for as long as I own this van.
The alarm is part of the van's electrical system. It cannot be removed. No one who reported this problem in the reviews reported a fix. All of those vans had a higher mileage than mine, though, so I hoped that I would have several years and time to rebuild my cash reserves before I had to deal with it, if I ever had to deal with it at all. Surely if it were a common problem, they would have issued a recall. Surely God wouldn't allow me to buy a vehicle with this particular problem. Why would He want me to be stranded somewhere?
Yet this is the vehicle I now own. A vehicle I have no hope of selling. Who would want an unreliable 14 year old van? That's what it is. My only hope is to trade it in to dealer, which is how I got it in the first place, or to really, truly total it, perhaps by driving it off a cliff.
Currently, though, I own two vehicles. A dying Suzuki and an unreliable Chrysler. Both of which I must now tag, insure and pay taxes on. A Suzuki that will give out and a Chrysler that I fear, as I would fear a big dog that bit me badly enough to require stitches and rabies shots.
The final kicker in the story so far? According to the woman at the DMV (where I failed to notice I grabbed the wrong proof of insurance so I couldn't finish what I waited two and a half hours to do), I can't switch my personalized plate (which I've had since I was 15) to the van until I sell the Suzuki. My identity must sit in a field until the dying car is sold. How's that for a metaphor?
My love story has become a horror story, and it isn't over. I have to go back to the DMV and pay that enormous amount of money during my vacation. I have to try to sell the Suzuki. I have to learn to drive the van without hitting walls, and I have to plan what to do for the day when it doesn't work when I need it to.
What am I learning? That God is a bully, who could give good gifts but would rather teach me a lesson I don't understand. I feel like He gave me an ice cream cone and then knocked it into the litter box.
You know how people always say "I didn't want it when it happened, but I wouldn't change a thing?" Yeah, I don't see me saying that. I don't need a 2x4. I was doing it right, and I got smacked. You know what that teaches me? It doesn't matter how I do it; I'll still get smacked. Here's the thing, though: I won't play if I don't have chance to win. I'm not a fighter. If there isn't a way to do this right, I won't do it. I'll learn to ride the bus. Or walk. Or ride a kick scooter. I won't pound my head into hamburger for anybody, not even me.
I'm angry. I'm trying not to be, and that makes me depressed. Depression is the flip side of anger, you know. Why am I angry? I don't know. I have no right to be, yet I can't stop it. Every time I think I've got a handle, another thing happens because of that van and the anger returns.
I don't want anyone thinking that God is like this to everybody, 'cause I'm pretty sure He's not. I continue to believe in Him; I just don't want to talk to Him right now. And if I'm being completely honest, which I may as well be because I've already told God this while I'm not talking to Him, I'd like Him to apologize. Nothing fancy. Just 40-story letters of fire spelling out "We apologize for the inconvenience."
It wouldn't make me less angry, but it would be something.
This is why I've been a little quiet. It's not a good reason, but it's the reason. I'm not looking for sympathy or lectures. I don't need help or advice. I'm not looking for any kind of response at all, from anybody, even God. Mostly, I'm looking for a way to make sense of it. I hoped writing it down would provide that. Maybe it will.
Not tonight, though. Tonight, I'm upset, and I'm going to bed.