Tuesday, April 30, 2013
I observed two milestones last week. I celebrated yet another birthday. Birthdays are still occasions of celebration for me. Their approach does not ignite flames of fear in my heart. Life is an adventure and I still yearn to see what lies around the next turn in the trail. The odometer in my car reached 140,000 miles last week. It was the first automobile that I had purchased new (or that had been registered in my name, for that matter) to survive that many miles. It has endured three major repairs, one provoked by another driver backing his vehicle into the side of mine. During the last repair decision, I seriously considered purchasing a new car. Perhaps because I have been the only owner, this car doesn't seem as old as other vehicles I have owned that had fewer miles. Although it is what rental companies generously call a "full-size" vehicle, it still gets twenty-eight miles a gallon on long highway trips. I enjoy driving it and, although occasionally I covet some of the technological advances of the last eight years, enjoy driving it. I feel safe. Those are a few of the reasons I hold on to this car. Both I and my car are growing older. But we still can move down the road together in relative comfort. It gets me where I'm going. Comfort does not require the most recent technological gadgets or the latest fashions. It can even survive appearing "dated," which seems to be the ultimate insult on some HGTV house hunting programs. Comfort does require some degree of familiarity and the ability to use with knowledge of what will happen next. Human relationships share many of the characteristics of my relationship to my car. We are comfortable with our friends and our spouses despite their eccentricities and their ages. We feel comfortable where we worship when we know what to expect and sense that leaders act responsibly. In both cases we make adjustments or repairs when radical change requires it. In both cases, loyalty and love require giving the opportunity to make the repair work. We continue to move down the road (or the prayer trail) together. We celebrate our milestones; they remind us that we (and our relationships) still survive.