It looks pretty certain that we are leaving for China in about FIVE WEEKS!! Don't even ask me how much we have to get done. I am really praying it all gets finished in time for us to enjoy our last few weeks here.
Today I said the first in what promises to be a long string of good-byes. I've known Max for fifteen years, longer than I've known my husband or any of my friends here in North Carolina. We have so many memories together, driving curvy mountain roads, windows down, music blaring, stopping to pick daisies on the roadside in the summer and inhaling the cool air of autumn. We drove all around East Tennessee during high school, staying out too late and goofing off in the innocent way you can only do in a small mountain town. He went with me when I decided to take a roadtrip one summer in college "just because." We wound our way through Virginia, Pennsylvania, and New York visiting friends along the way and getting lost in New Jersey. He went along when my friend Matt and I made our epic trip to Mardi Gras one February. He was there for late night talks with boyfriends and midnight runs to the Waffle House in college. He ran away with me every time I needed to get away during my restless years, driving off to Jones Gap to hike or just driving, with no destination in mind, until my mind cleared and I found peace enough to go home.
Max, Maxwell, short for Maxwell's Silver Hammer is my silver, 1995 Acura Integra. (Yes, I named all of our family's cars after Beatles' songs, but I just can't come up with a name for our black minivan.) I suppose I should say he "was" my Integra. I didn't think I would be so sad to sell him. We need the money to get us by until we leave for the field, and we don't need the extra car. It didn't make sense to keep him sitting idle somewhere for four years.
But as I drove to meet the new owner this evening, I cried. This was my first car, bought for me by my Daddy. It's a huge memory of him, not to mention all the memories I have associated with that car after fifteen years of driving it. I was such a restless, lost soul for so many years, and that car was the one thing that stayed constant and went with me wherever I ran to...that car and the Holy Spirit, I suppose.
Selling Maxwell today reminded me of the person I was, the restless, rambling, music and fresh air loving girl that used to drive around with the windows down and the Allman Brothers playing. I never was happy in one place for very long, and I used to be able to pack up everything I needed in that car and just take off at a moment's notice. Somewhere in the midst of a marriage and three kids and five years in one place, I lost that ability to pick up and go. In some ways that was good, growing up and no longer running away, but I am starting to remember that some of that restlessness is good, a reminder that things are not as they should be and that I am not as I want to be, that there is work to be done for peace and justice and love and truth.
For too long now I have been living a stable, stationary life. It wasn't all bad, but I am waking up and realizing that God is calling me to more, that He made me restless and rambling for a reason. It's funny that the first step toward rediscovering that is selling Maxwell. Good old Maxwell, who saw me through the tumultuous years and doesn't get to see the newly restless (in a good way) me. I will miss you, my faithful traveling companion.