It began as the car my grandfather used to haul his blue-blazered grandson off to school. He passed it on to me before my junior year of college.
It served through two years of college, four years of seminary, and then a long move to Vermont. It survived a Vermont winter and is now ready for the next move. Yesterday, after cleaning it out on Monday, I passed my blue 1994 Toyota Corolla on to my brother-in-law.
He’s going into his sophmore year in college, but he’s more mature than I was by my senior year of college, so all is well.
I got the car with only 33,000 miles on it. Now 122,000 miles later I find myself reflecting a little bit on my first car.
I remember going through a type of personal revolution during the summer before my junior year of college. My freshman year was kind of chaotic and even somewhat godless at times. My sophomore year was fairly stable. Before my junior year of college God really grabbed my attention.
I realized one night while reading the third chapter of Romans that I had been trying to live the Christian life on my own. That’s right, just like Martin Luther, Romans is THE book for evangelical Christians I suppose for better or worse. It was a dark night of the soul that suddenly ended that evening when I surrendered.
“Righteousness from God,” was the key. How freeing. God wants us to live holy lives, but he makes it happen. That is a religion I can give myself to. God wants to be with us so much that he will draw us to himself. We just have to get out of the way.
And so that summer I dedicated myself and whatever I had to the Lord. The car was included in this deal.
Going off to college in Indiana, I did all that I could to give rides to freshmen and other people who needed a lift. I hauled 20 foot boards in the car for people who needed to move a lost. I made countless mid-night trips to Taco Bell.
The car, in a sense, was my one of my tools for serving others. I didn’t always do things right, but I had a sense of responsibility to use the car that I had received at no cost as a blessing for others.
I grew a little sentimentle yesterday as I looked over at my car in the parking lot at work for the last time. It’s so odd that we grow attached to things. The familiarity, the routine. The air conditioner that blew out more air on low than on high. The remnants of a milk shake around the center consul during a trip home from college, the crusty stain from a peach pie I brought to my grandmother and partially spilled on the seat, the red stain of jello that melted and spilled out of the span.
Good memories. Good years. And now, one of the chief reminders of my college days has passed to my brudda-in-law. It’s his job to make his own memories now. Good luck and have fun taking sharp corners!