This morning at 9:03 I backed our new van into a telephone pole.
Today was day six of owning this beautiful vehicle, a vehicle so new and fresh in our home that it has not been registered (or blogged about!). I immediately did what I imagine every self-respecting-and-insanely-tired woman would do- I called my husband and bawled my eyes out, trying to breathe and cry between each word.
My husband calmed me down, reassured me that life would be OK. When I tried to emphatically remind him that this van was NEW, he replied with a single word that spoke volumes.
"But it's....our new....van...I'm...so....sorry!" Sob, sob, sob.
"It's fine, babe. Not a big deal."
I proceeded to drive to Walmart (um- did I mention that the telephone pole was directly behind my driveway in my alley? Yeah- makes it even less sympathetic and more pathetic.)
Ella asked, "Mom, why are you crying?"
"Because I put a bump in the car."
"Oh, that's OK," was her happy reply.
I sighed. Shook my head. Kept driving. I imagined how mortified I would be when people saw the car. When the fact that the bumper was popped out of the frame had to be explained. When we had to find out how much my distracted backing up was going to cost us (um...did I mention that this awesome new vehicle actually has a back-up camera? My patheticness grows with every detail.)
As we left the car and walked toward Walmart, my hand bobbed up and down as Ella skipped happily.
"What are you so happy about?" I asked her.
"I found my blankie!" she beamed up at me. The girl does have a somewhat rocky relationship with her blankie. She loves it so much that it needs to travel the house with her, but then, alas, is hard to locate when she needs it the very most: bedtime. Many tears have been shed because it's time for sleep and the blanket is MIA.
In the moment it struck me how value is relative; Ella prized a smelly blanket with the same admiration and attachment that I had to my mini van.
Later as I thought about that moment, I wondered if God looked down at me as I looked at Ella. As I shed tears for a vehicle, it occurred to me that this van matters little to God; in fact, it probably only matters to Him because it matters to me.
And should it really matter to me so much?
I thought about that on the ride home. As a family, we try not to get too attached to things. We describe ourselves casually as "we're just not stuff people." I don't think it's the actual damage of the vehicle that bothered me; I wouldn't have cried if someone else hit it or if Garrett had backed it into the telephone pole. I think I was upset because it made me feel irresponsible, like I couldn't be trusted with something nice. (Interestingly enough- as a 2 on the enneagram, my personality finds it's worth in being useful. So my usefulness, or level of responsibility, is directly correlated to my worth.)
And let's face it, in this venture of trying to run a home, homeschool a herd, and live some sort of life in the midst of that, I don't want to face the reality that I make a lot of mistakes. Though this is evident to my kids and my husband and my friends who I really talk with, I don't want someone to look at my van and know it! It was funny for me to realize that after all my supposed efforts on this blog to alleviate pressure and embrace grace, there's are still parts of me that want to do that in minimal ways.
"Well, I can embrace grace because I don't need it that much."
"I'm not afraid to admit my mistakes since I make so few of them."
"I don't mind asking forgiveness when I need it just a few times a year."
Hogwash. All of it. I don't need a canteen of grace to sip at through the day; I need a river to float me through the swamp of my life.
Amen. (I know...I just amen-ed myself but I was really feelin' it.)
When all was said and done, the bumper was pretty forgiving.
And my husband was so awesome.
I took a picture of it because 1-I figured I would blog about it and there has been some grumbling about the lack of pictures, and because 2) someday it might be funny. I think we'll try to get it fixed soon; but until then it will serve as a reminder that it is just stuff and that driving deserves a little attention.
I also find it a little pathetic that in the best picture that has been taken of me in a LONG time, I am posing with my mini van. Oh, brother.
I'd also like to take this opportunity to recommend scarves as a natural way to edit out double chins. Just sayin'.
Guess that's all for tonight. Hope your week finds you celebrating grace and not denying your need of it.
It's a regular celebration around here.