With both daughters off again on their own life journeys, the past few weeks have left me emotional and philosophical. Coupled with some real world car trouble, it’s no wonder I have been in a bit of a funk. The metaphor has not been lost: a broken down car at the same time that life seems to have stalled.
Clutch failure on a manual transmission renders the vehicle immovable and the driver helpless. I hate that feeling more than anything – helplessness. It may be the greatest irony of all that driving has always given me a feeling of independence. In my car, behind the wheel, I have control and can go where I like when I choose. That is really one of the joys of driving; a feeling that you as the driver are in charge. Who doesn’t like to be in control? Don’t we really want to steer in our own direction? I hate it when the detours of life disrupt my route, and these most recent weeks have caused me to hit some roadblocks.
Thankfully, I have had a vehicle to drive while my car awaits ordered parts and ultimate repair. It’s a nice little car that belongs to our daughter. We plan to sell it for her since her year abroad means she’ll need the money more than the car. But it isn’t sold yet, so I’m driving it. My first order of business was to clean it up. It wasn’t horrible, but as a busy college student she never spent much time cleaning it. So a little carpet cleaner on the upholstery and floor mats, a dust-free dashboard, and shiny windows have made a huge difference. I am not a neat freak in the housekeeping department, but I do love a clean car.
In my car, and in my life, I like to see where I’m going. I like a certain sense of order no matter what direction I’m headed. That may be the real problem right now. I seem to have found some potholes that have required swerving. I need to get back on the road, but which one? I do not want to be that driver who fails to signal turns or is consistently in the wrong lane. Still a mom, but without kids, this autumn trip finds me on strange roads with no map or GPS; struggling to plan my route.
Like a car that’s lost its clutch, I can’t seem to get it in gear. I really thought that by now I would have at least been up to speed on some things. Since this is my second fall with no kids at home, and since I am armed with a list of projects, I thought this would have been prime time to set the cruise control and start racking up some productive miles. That has not been the case. Some days it’s hard to get out of the driveway.
In a few more days I hope to be back in my own driver’s seat. It is very shallow, but I love my car. It’s a fun little micro-van with a zoom-zoom engine, super tight turning radius, and hugs the road nicely when driving. Even faced with a major repair bill, I still look forward to getting back into that vehicle. Then, maybe I can really get on with the journey. It is time to shift into high gear and hear that little engine hum.
Now if I could just figure out where I’m going….