Thing

On September 30, 2001, my son and I joined about 5 other people in an uncrowded movie theatre for the opening night of "Extreme Days".  The movie was a mix of off-beat comedy, extreme sports, and some of the edgier faith based music of the day...wrapped in a buddy film about a grand adventure up the Pacific coast.  Their vehicle of choice was a "Joyota", a "jeep body with a refurbished Toyota engine" as they referred to it.  Actually, their rig was a 1973 Volkswagen "Thing", but they seemed to be as clueless about that as most other things.  

We've gone through a couple of personal DVD copies, given away numerous more to family & friends, and it is still one of our family favorite films.  It carries some of the cheese that an 11-year old film of its' genre should contain, as you might imagine, but it has become an iconic part of our story.  The largest lasting impact has to do with their ride.  As ugly and unorthodox as a Thing convertible is, the older kids have always jonesed for one.

As fate might have it, the CEO of the bank I used to work at had a canary yellow version that he kept in the parking garage.  It was jointly owned and thinly used on trips to the beach.  I asked about it several times, but was reassured that his family would never let him part with it.  A couple of weeks ago, however, he called to let me know he was ready to sell.  The prospect left me in quite a dilemma.

Every practical bone in my logical body (and there are many) said it was an ignorant decision, but I couldn't shake the picture of my two beautiful blonde daughters rolling with the top down in that canary yellow convertible.  We have worked hard to fabricate a larger and unique story for them to live in and this ride clearly fit the bill.  I felt Him fathering me through the process and I was deeply stirred to the impractical.  I worked up my offer, but before I was able to give the CEO a call, his name showed up on my phone.

He said he had some bad news for me.  He is a strong and determined, but gracious and kind man.  I got to work with him closely during my tenure at the bank and considered him a strong ally and friend.  He said that even though the dealer was going to offer him little as a trade-in on the car, he said he just couldn't sell it to me.  The Thing is rough...poor exterior protection and suspension, challenging and not too comfortable to drive, with no airbags or other safety features.  He said he was up wrestling with it the night before and said he just didn't feel comfortable knowing my two teenage girls would be driving it around.  He couldn't sell it to me.

While I lost the Thing, I am different from the journey.  I chose life and adventure over the tried and true path (the way I have lived most of my life) and it was very good.  Each step toward a larger story for me and my family seems to get easier.  Kind of like losing the battle, but winning the war.