I have never had a nice car nor did I care about having one. I have always had hand me down or cheap cars until a couple years ago. For about 6 years I was driving a 2001 Honda Accord which I loved. The problem with driving a car with 250,000 miles on it is that piece after piece, it begins to break down and is expensive to fix. My entire life I have lived paycheck to paycheck which doesn’t allow me a savings to dig into to fix these parts. I finally decided two years ago when my Honda was not fixable and I had to replace it, that I would lease a car so that my monthly payment and gas were all that I had to worry about. That was the first time I had ever had a beautiful new car, and though I never cared about having one, it was nice. For the first time, when I drove around and went to work, I felt like my hard work showed. For years, I was a retail manager in charge of 20-40 people, most of which drove nicer cars than me. I know a nice car is not important in the big picture, but you can’t help but notice when your employees’ cars are newer than yours. I felt like, when you are leading other people, you want to give them the picture that hard work pays off. That it’s worth all of the years of climbing that ladder and paying your dues. This beautiful new car that I drove with such pride was symbolic for me in a lot of ways.
My car wasn’t a BMW, but to me, it might as well have well been. It was a 2010 Toyota Camry Sports Edition. It was so pretty. My biggest joy was that it was freedom from so much stress. Finances have always been a struggle for me and I’ve carried even more financial stress the past 5 years since my divorce. Every time that something went wrong with my car, that financial stress was magnified.
By the time I moved in with my parents, my car key was the only key left on my chain. I had stopped making my car payment the day I lost my job which was a few weeks before moving. Having no savings, I was unable to pay any of my bills after that point. After living with my parents one week, I finally heard from unemployment and interviewed to see if I was eligible to receive it. I had filled out one claim form already and those of you who have been on unemployment before, know that they ask you if you’ve looked for work. I was honest on my first claim form and stated that due to relocating, I was unable to look for work the first two weeks. The woman on the phone (who clearly very much enjoys her job) proceeded to tell me in her words, “Due to your honesty, you have disqualified yourself from receiving unemployment for those first two weeks”. I personally think there may have been a more tactful way of saying that, but oh well. She then told me that due to an error I made the last time I was on unemployment 3 years ago (I accidentally wrote down the Net amount on a claim form instead of the Gross amount), I was disqualified from 5 weeks on top of that, even though I paid back the balance last year. So because of human error and my honesty, it would be at least 7 weeks with zero income. Good times.
The following day, my Mom saw a man writing a ticket for my car that was parked on the street in front of their house. I ran out to see what was wrong and he pointed out that my registration had expired in April. Somehow the notice never got to me even though it was now almost August. So, that was a $75 ticket on top of registration and fees from being overdue. The following day the notice came in the mail that they had canceled my car insurance due to no payments. And the hits just kept on coming.
I obviously stopped driving my car that day, and in the couple weeks following, I realized that I would never be able to afford the almost $1,500 it would take to get it up to date on payments and such to drive it. I decided that it would be better to voluntarily surrender it to the dealership before they could repossess it. I never thought I would get to this day. God has always provided for me, including money to pay bills, which I took to mean that he doesn’t need me to have that car. Of course, if He is sending me to another country for ministry I won’t need a car at all, it’s just hard to let go. To let go of that final key; the final thing that I had that physically represented the years of hard work, as well as my freedom as an adult.
God has so much more to show me and for me to learn. I’m enjoying the process of being molded into a new beginning. A new journey; and even without anything that I started with, I’m excited about this journey the most.