Thursday, January 17, 2008

The Car Chronicles: '94 Mazda RIP

"But David," I asked my former employer,
"why do you want to give me your car?"
"Because," he answered in his clipped Taiwan accent,
"you're working for God."

He had me there. I had originally figured that my bicycle would get me around Orange County, CA just fine: Work, School, Church, Post Office, etc. (boy, was I ever wrong). So I reluctantly gave in and accepted the gift. But now I had two cars! The first one had just been given to me the previous month, by my niece's husband at my B.A. graduation. He came to the graduation, and told me, "God told me to give you my car." It was a small Toyota sedan, and ran great.

So now I had an argument with God: "God, why do you want me to have a six-passenger van with cargo capacity? Are you planning for me to haul people and stuff around? And what do I do with the other one? David says I should just sell my Toyota."

And God said, "What do you mean, your Toyota?"

Oops. I couldn't sell the Toyota because it wasn't mine. It was God's.
I ended up giving it as a high school graduation present to a young African-American lady who went on to be the first person in her entire extended family (since slavery!) to graduate from college.

So. Mazda MPV. Needed a new radiator. But then, after I finished my M.A. it was ready to take me through the United States starting in California, crossing over Native American Territory (foto above) and on to Church Army Pittsburgh; with all my kitchen, all my office, and half my library packed inside. And after that it was on to Church Army Branson (where I modified the front end—foto at right) and on to the Gulf Coast of Mississippi, where God confirmed my call to serve as a missionary for a season.

But first I made a run all the way to California and back to pick up the rest of my library. I did indeed haul stuff around—around the whole country. And in Mississippi, I repeatedly used it to haul people around to distant church services and meetings, etc.

So finally, last month, it was time to move up north to Pennsylvania. But how to get there? Would the Mazda make it? To haul all my stuff I had to add a trailer hitch (not recommended) and tow a U-haul (not recommended) up and down the Appalachians (not recommended). It made it. Thank you, Lord.

But Alas, yesterday was the last of the MPV. I had been driving around hill and dale in PA, and just arrived back in Ambridge when the motor quit. Call AAA. Talk to the mechanic. The timing belt had stripped and the valves and pistons were damaged. Total mileage on the car: 207,000. Today I watched the tow truck haul it off to oblivion.

So here I sit at my window, looking out at the snow and my bicycle (yes, I still have it) with its flat tire. Am I sad? Well yes, a little. But am I joyful? My joy is in the Lord!

Thank you, Lord, for loaning me this car. Thank you for knowing what kind of car I needed when I had no clue. Thank you for 65,000 miles of reliable transportation. Thank you for safety and your protection on the highways of America. Thank you, Lord. You are Faithful.

And I thank you Lord, for your plans for me now. I do not know what those plans are, but I do know that they are for my good, and not for my harm. Thank you, Lord, for whatever Your plans are for me and for my transportation. You know my needs, Lord, and you love me. Thank you, Lord.

1 comment:

Alta Californian said...

I sympathize. I have a 93 323 with not quite 300,000 miles. That old girl's taken me all over the country. Every radiator leak, misalignment, clutch grind is a badge of honor. And 93 and 94 they didn't put a sealant on the paint job, so every period 323 on the road has either rust or new paint. She needs her smog check next week (Kyrie eleison). I'm waiting for the inevitable day I see her towed away. I think it will be soon. Just the same I think I'll have the timing belt checked.