On the day I went to buy my car, a friend texted me and asked, "What is the name of your new car?" My brow furrowed and I thought, I haven't even bought it yet, how could it have a name? As I considered her question, I realized that I had never named the car I've been driving for the past 13 years. Every once in a while I thought about it, but I never came up with anything. My first little grey Toyota Corolla SR5 with its pop-up head lights was Mouse. The next car, a white Saturn stick shift that I couldn't even drive when I bought it was White Lightening. I never really used the name, but that was what I called her in my head when I called her anything at all.
As I rode to the car dealership and pondered my friend's question, what popped in my head for my new car was Ladybug. At first I rejected it. Ladybugs are brighter red than my new car, and they're really tiny. My car is compact but not tiny. Ladybug would fit better for a Smart Car. So I started trying to come up with other names, but each time I thought about it, Ladybug was what came. Ladybugs are lucky, and I feel lucky to find this car. Ladybugs can fly, and though I'm not much of a racer, there's something that feels a bit like flying when I drive it. During my week at the Hoffman process after my middler year of seminary, I received a ladybug stuffed animal that has been meaningful to me. So, Ladybug it is. World, meet Ladybug, my new car.
Today I will part with my old car, and the name came to me at last - Gold Star. This is the car that I bought just before I went to seminary with money that my grandmother left me when she died. This is the car that replaced my White Lightening after someone drove into me on Colley Ave. in Norfolk and totaled the car. The damage wasn't that severe, but at ten years old, insurance wasn't going to pay to fix it. I bought my gold star on March 31. I had gone to the Saturn dealer to begin the car shopping process, and they were having a 0% interest deal for March Madness. As it was the last day of March, it was the last day of the deal. I bought my car, even though I wasn't really ready. We've been together ever since.
Gold Star has been with me through three Chicago winters and ten Virginia summers. She has traveled up and down the East Coast. She has served congregations right along with me and has carried me safely wherever I needed to go. She has always had a few quirks, the most noticeable being that in recent years when the door is locked and the key is not far away, some kind of error in the security system causes her to start honking as if she is possessed. A quick touch to the unlock button on the key fob turns it off, but sometimes the event happens at inappropriate times. As happy as I am with my new car, I am sad to say good-bye to this old friend. But she is going to a new family who needs her, and I trust she will serve them well, too.
I know I'm anthropomorphizing, but I feel a bit disloyal at how quickly I've fallen in love with Ladybug. Yesterday I cleaned out Gold Star to prepare her for her new owners. Letting go is hard, but it's time for her to move on. May she be a blessing to those who drive and ride in her. May they be safe and secure. May she serve them well.
The old and the new, side by side. Grateful for them both.