Thursday, July 20, 2006
I've been thinking. That is a favorite beginning to conversations for me. Frequently, I set myself up intentionally by stating "I've been thinking.........." followed by a pause to see what my friend, family member, or some stranger will insert. Most family members and close friends quickly insert "Oh nooooo!". Last September I called my brother and without stating who was calling or even saying hello, I began "I've been thinking.....". Without missing a beat he replied "Not again!". That particular call was about the Coosa River Adventure Race which sounded like great fun to me. The sale may have been made except the race was on the weekend of "Friends Day" at the congregation where he preaches. Anyway, what I have been thinking about is a '57 Chevy. Well, at least a '57 Chevy enters into the thought process. Here is the tie-in; I met a man recently that owns a '57 Chevy that he bought new. It is similar to the one in this picture except it is red. The car is absolutly beautiful! It looks just like new. Part of the reason is the life the car leads. The owner keeps it in a small garage and takes it out once per week to clean. Once or twice per month he drives it up Hwy. 231 a little way. Maybe twice a year he will drive it to an area car show. I guess that seems like a pretty good life if you are a car. But I've been thinking..............is it really? It is hard to personify a car. If you were a car, what kind of life would you want to live? For that matter, what kind of car (or truck, motorcycle, etc.) would you want to be? Stop and think about it a minute. Why would you choose a particular vehicle to be? Your choice probably says something about how you live your life as a human. Probably nobody will choose to be a pulpwood truck. Is there such a thing as a new pulpwood truck? Do they all come from the factory already beat up? You may choose to be a practical or dependable vehicle but since it is obviously make-believe, most folks will likely choose to be some sporty, fun model. Maybe even exotic. Here is the thing; this particular guy (who owns the '57 Chevy) says it is likely worth about $30k. He will never sell it and plans to leave it to his son. That much doesn't seem unusual. The unusual part it the man lives in a very old mobile home that is probably worth about $5k or less. He drives a chevy truck worth about $2500. He appears to be well beyond retirement age but works hard every day to pay for rent (mobile home park), food, and utilities. He lives a very meager lifestyle and lives, frankly, where most readers of this blog would be afraid to even visit. Yet, he has a $30k car that sits locked in a small home-made garage and is almost never driven. If I were that beautiful, sleek, sporty car I would want to be driven and shown off, not locked up. Now to be clear, 1) the car is his 2) he hasn't asked my advice (and I haven't given it) 3) it is really none of my business what he does with his car. Having said all that, it is also true that I have the right (if not responsibility) to learn from the observations that are made possible by this gentleman--a nice guy by the way. Here is one application I have made for myself. That car has to be periodically cleaned, painted, and maintained even though it is rarely driven. In fact, BECAUSE it is not driven, special care must be given to watch for wasp nest and dirt daubers. He cleans those from different areas regularly. I have seen him take the doors apart and take the glass windows out in order to lubricate the mechanical linkage that raises and lowers the windows. In short, he works more to clean and maintain a car he almost never drives than most of us do to clean and maintain the vehicle we drive every day and trust the lives of our family to. The result is a showpiece that is rarely seen, a dependable car that is never used. Sometimes a human life is like that. Some folks are afraid to live the life they were equipped to live but rather hide out like that '57 Chevy locked in a garage. I have decided to prefer being used up to being stored up. With that in mind I went to visit a 63 year old friend who has been living his passion on two wheels as long as I have known him. He recently pushed his passion (and his motorcycle) too far on the Barber Motorsport Track and will be healing for a long time. Be advised--If you criticize his choice in my presence, I will challenge how you are spending your life as well. I do not advocate reckless abandon (nor does my friend) but I would rather take some chances and enjoy all God has provided than "be locked in the garage" only to die of a heart attack while watching re-runs of somebody else's life. That is what I think--agree or disagree?