Oh, car, driving around in you with the big red R plastered on your windshield feels appropriate to me. I know well the shame. I know well the shame of rejection. It festers in me. No matter how much I tell myself that rejection is an opportunity, there are those times when hope is lost. Those times when I allow myself to wallow.
I know it hurts to see the other, newer, cars with their back up cameras and their bluetooth connections succeed when even your patched up exhaust system can’t hide the fact that your wheel bearing whatever whatever is loose and so you have been rejected. Labeled with big red R until such time as your owners fix you and make you once again safe and appropriate to share the road with the others. I know you feel bad about your rusty bumper and the fact that your radio antenna goes neither up nor down but rather hangs in a constant half-erect state. The radio signal still comes through, though. And yes, your mirrors need to be adjusted by hand now, but they still guide us through the blind spots.
Car, at times like this, I want you to remember all that we share. All you have given us. Car, remember the fields of sunflowers. Remember the glaciers. Remember the antelope. The bison. Remember the prairie dogs. Remember the campground where we sat in you that cold morning and listened to the news from thousands of miles away. The news that changed us. The news of planes and towers.
Car, remember the Valley of the Gods. Tofino. Remember the sand from the bottom of the Grand Canyon that fell off our boots and colored your bumpers for so long. Car, remember driving back home, onto the island, and that sunset that greeted us.
Remember our wedding. Remember driving to our OB/GYN appointments. Remember your first car seat.
Remember that night we moved out of our house.
Remember the rain I drove through while your trunk was filled with gas cans and propane tanks that the movers would not move.
Remember our son’s first day of preschool. Kindergarten. First grade. Second.
Remember all of these moments, car. Keep them. Even with the letter plastered upon you, they are all that matters.
A new year is dawning, car. 2015, marks fourteen years since my mother died and fourteen years since we’ve had you. You started me back on this path when I was broken, car. You brought me back out to the world and you helped to save me and rejected or not, we are still on this path together.
Do not wallow, car. Please wallow no more. We have all of this. All of it. Red letter or not, rejection is our opportunity.