I was Facebook stalking myself in nostalgia the other day and came across some old photos of my now non-existent ’98 Camry. I’ve always told people that I hated driving and I don’t recall ever bragging about my car or anything, but in retrospect, I really liked that car.
It’s really been through a lot with me. To be honest, I’m kind of shocked I never gave my car a name n____n I remember buying that brand new car when my baby sister was about to be born. The exhaustingly long and painful move from Wellsville, NY to Illinois. The first time my dad took me for a driving lesson (in the parking lot of Calvary Church). The long drives I had to and from worship team practice/ youth group where I’d refuse rides to anyone else and enjoy the me-and-God time. The hours I would spend in empty parking lots, crying, because I didn’t know where else to go. The unlawful numbers of people we’d cram into that car for random excursions. I grew a lot in that car. Not only in the “useless -> permit -> license” way, but definitely lots of emotional, relational, and spiritual growth too.
I’ve had a lot of good talks in that car. There’s something about being stuck in a small space with another person that gets conversations going. Even with my father. Frankly, it has always been hard for me to open up or hold real conversations with my father, but it somehow seemed to always work in that car. Maybe it was the fact that we knew no matter how uncomfortable or awkward a conversation might potentially be, it would stop naturally once we reach our destination. Or maybe the sights along the road were inspirational and allowed for good questions to be asked. Either way, those were definitely good times.
For some reason, I always felt like my car was such a safe space where I could be honest with myself. No matter how skewed my thoughts were or how inaccurate I saw myself and the world, things always seemed to clear up a little behind that wheel. For that reason, a lot of praying and repenting happened in my car over the years. A lot of reconciliation. A lot of affirmation. A lot of praise.
And of course, my baby Camry’s been with me through a lot of adventures–especially the legally questionable ones. Like when I drove on the left side of the street late at night to see what it’d be like to be Japanese. When I left the moon roof open in the rain. When I decided to floor the gas pedal in curiosity. When I drove–and got lost–on the highway for the first time without parental permission. When I drove just to drive–with no destination in mind. I’ll miss those days when even gas prices could not prevent our fun.
Maybe I’m being silly in thinking that those type of memories could never be concocted in another vehicle. I guess it’s just sad to think that whatever car we decide to purchase may never be “my baby” the way my Camry was. In my head, it’ll just be a placeholder vehicle to get me from A to B until I can afford my dream car and pass it along to Eva when she starts learning to drive–which is so soon O.O All I can really do is hope that as it accompanies my sister through her coming of age, it may help her grow and see growth as my baby did with me.