I sign my name, and you are no longer mine.
Just like that.
For a decade we have been together, but now it is over.
Please, don’t look at me that way.
You understand, don’t you? It’s not your fault. I don’t blame you. You have been a faithful friend, an excellent companion. You were there for me morning after morning, mile after mile, and I thank you. For years you were the soul of reliability—I admit you were so rock steady, I took you for granted, and for that I apologize. I never questioned whether you would be there when I needed you. You simply were.
Oh, there were always issues. You know that’s true. At first, I chose to see them as lessons God was using you to teach me. Your broken air conditioner taught me to endure hardship and appreciate the blessing of a cool breeze—rare though that be in summer. Your broken driver’s door taught me to be thankful that I was limber enough to climb in through the passenger side and over the gear shift. The fact that neither door would lock taught me to hold loosely to worldly possessions, since items left in you would likely go missing. Your broken radio caused me to unplug from the world and spend more time in prayer. The rust spots, torn seats, cracks in the dash wide enough to use as a drink holder—which was fortunate since the regular drink holder was broken—all of these just pointed to the passing of time, the ravages that come upon all of us in a fallen world. After all, I’ve gained some rust spots of my own in the time we’ve been together, along with assorted cracks and tears. If anything, the external cosmetic issues served to highlight your internal strength and reliability. So many times we passed beautiful, shiny cars broken down by the side of the road, or strapped to a tow truck, and I patted your sticky steering wheel in thanks.
But then things began to change. The trips to the mechanic became more frequent, and more costly. My mantras, “It’s really just maintenance,” and, “Hey, it beats a car payment,” began to ring hollow.
You never stranded me away from home, and for that I will always be grateful. You always seemed able to rally enough to make it to the mechanic, or at least to our driveway. Do you remember that morning outside the orthodontist? Completely dead, until the tow truck arrived. Then, Sweet Loretta, you rallied for one last start, and made it to the mechanic under your own power.
Then came The Day of the Transmission.
It was so sudden. From mild slippage on Sunday afternoon to massive meltdown on Monday. You struggled so valiantly to shift gears, but there was nothing left. Still, you fought like a champion to gain the refuge of the mechanic’s garage. You refused heroic measures, arriving under your own power, trapped forever in secondish gear. Wrapped in your own dignity, you shrieked your defiance of time through the horrible sound of grinding metal, leaving little pieces of yourself along the road.
I remembered our first road trip together as I coaxed you through our last.
Yes, Loretta, I could have given you a new transmission. But the cost would have been too high. Please understand that, though my heart considers you priceless, my wallet had reached its limit.
To everything there is a season.
A time to be born, a time to die.
A time to hold on, a time to let go.
I hope that you rest peacefully, knowing that you will continue to live on in other cars. You, who have always been a giver, can now give all that you have to keep other Berettas on the road. Be happy, my friend. You have earned it.
As for me, I’m very glad people aren’t cars, and that when my time comes I will go in my entirety into glory. I’m very glad that there is no such thing as a spiritual Pick-a-Part.
Although that is an interesting concept…