I was driving around today in my 1995 Mazda MPV.
It's our first mini-van. We purchased it for next to nothing late last fall. More often than not, while we have owned it, the drivers side door has been locked shut....forcing me to crawl through the passenger door or the kid door. By kid door I mean, passenger side back door that opens like car door instead of like a normal sliding van door.
This past week my father-in-law and hubby managed to get the drivers side door unlocked. :) However, after they reattached the plastic which covers all the mechanisms and after they screwed the door back in, the metal piece slid off of the inside handle leaving it disabled. So in order to open my car door I now have to put the window down and pull the outside handle. Believe me! This is much preferable to climbing through the van many, many, many times while on a car trip to do errands!
Today, I was driving around my very busy little small town during the lunch hour watching people watch me and my van. I had two cute elderly men smirk at me while I reached out to open the door. I also had some highschoolers verbally express what a pathetic little ugly van it was.
I was driving around feeling a sense of pride. Nope, my van is not new. It has not a single bell or whistle (but has 4-wheel drive--which where I live is more important to me), it is far from pretty (we bought it with lots of white paint over rusted areas)..... but it drives, it's reliable, my family fits in it and they don't even have to touch if they don't want.
The radio program was talking about suicides in the military. The next segment was talking about heliocopter parents who bubble wrap their children. The discussion was about how the generations growing up today seem to have a silver spoon in their mouths and a sense of entitlement and too frequently get out of highschool without ever getting injured or experiencing any failure. They often don't know how to recover from failure, from mishap, from even little disappointments. They have not had the opportunity to develop emotionally when it comes to the negatives of life and then have a very hard time adjusting when they are suddenly told they are now a grown up and no one is there to bail them out or tell them the safest path to take.
I was wondering if my life were bubble wrapped and packaged in nothing but the very best and the very expensive and the most popular, culturally accepted items...... would I even be able to drive this vehicle? Instead of driving a very adequate vehical and counting how many ways it blesses me and my family, would I be griping and grumbing? Would I be shrinking down so no one could could see me? Would I be horrified to open up the non-sliding back passenger door? I surely would not have been able to have coped with a driver side door that did not open the entire winter or even worse, the very soggy spring.
The other day I was car pooling a young elementary student. A belt squealed as it does every time I turn it on. The young 7 year old boldly and quite rudely announced "Man, what was that? Why don't you get rid of this piece of junk and get a new one." I used it as a teaching moment to express that not everything in life is disposable just because other people think it is too old or ugly. I also gave mini-lessons on gratitude and being respectful of others with the things we say.
I am thankful that I am not ashamed to drive a less-that-culturally-acceptable vehicle. I am thrilled that I no longer have to squeeze three children into the back of our little VW golf, telling my oldest to lean toward the middle so that when the door hits his car seat squishing it inward, he will not get hurt. I am thankful that I am confident enough in my blessings to block out the negative talk, the put-downs and the media bombardment that says my vehicle is NOT adequate. I am thankful that I have not been bubble-wrapped and that the knocks along my path have allowed me to be content with the life I have, just as it exists.
I just wish everyone could experience such freedom to not be controlled by what others think of them. There is such freedom and blessings in this confidence/contentment indeed.