The One with All the Hugging

Early on in college I bought a car from another student.  As soon as I bought it, one of the windows rolled down and never came back up.  Fantastic.  Thankfully, it was Southern California so that wasn’t really a problem.  Here is my terrible red car and my friend's matching terrible red car.

For some reason, I thought this car was up for driving long distances…I’ve always fallen prey to questionable logic.  It was summer break though, so I headed home to Arizona.  I broke down an hour away from home.  It was just your run-of-the-mill break down; pretty uneventful.  When it broke on the way back  to California, however, is seared into my mind forever.

My car was a piece of junk but, no need to worry, I was traveling in a caravan... consisting of college-aged girls...  If the transmission ran out of coolant, I could just reroute the muffler to the spark plug on the combustion chamber.  And I knew if I couldn't solve the problem myself, one of the other girls would to be able to patch a gasket or jump-start the jet pack.

An actual mechanic had seen the car during the summer, but he couldn't find the problem.  And so, just in case, my mom provided me with a very long seat belt strap for towing purposes.  Moms are the best.

The red car turned off about two hours into the journey.  The caravan stopped.  I busted out the seat belt and convinced my friend to let me tie our cars together.  You need to know that I’m only good at a few things; making weird faces in pictures, organizing closets, biting cheddar cheese right off the block - not tying cars together.  But I did.  I tied a random piece of my car to some other piece of her car.  While the caravan looked on.

We set off.  I sat alone in my dysfunctional car which was sailing along behind the working car.  It. was. so. hot.  We were in Arizona.  In the summer.  In the desert part where only gila monsters and scorpions can stay alive for long.  The windows were down/broken and it made for a wind-tunnel/convection oven situation.  The bozo hair was out of control. I stayed focused on my one job - not crashing into my friend's car when she slowed down.  Things were progressing smoothly but soon enough the cars that were actually driving needed gas.

We pulled off the highway and turned into the gas station.  Well, everyone turned but me.  My steering wheel locked and I kept going straight.  Into a median.   Onto a hill.  I’m not blaming the seat belt strap.  It tried.  Cars are stronger than seat belts.  It wasn't a fair fight.

When that seat belt snapped, though, so did I.

I was literally melting, my hair was soaring to new heights, and I was stressed because I just wrecked my broken (again) car.  I was a poor college student that didn’t make enough money to cover whatever this stupid car was going to cost me.

So, like we all did back in the day, I found a payphone.  And I called my mommy.  In between sobs, I begged her to let me abandon my car in the Arizona desert and not look back.  She rattled off some gibberish about that being illegal.  Moms are the worst.

The caravan didn't see where the woman, who would come to be known as the Bra-less Wonder, came from.  The only thing around us was a bridge though, so we assume she was under it before she spied us.  Bless her.  She was overcome with sympathy when she saw my broken-down car and my broken-down self.  Suddenly, my head became crammed against her chest as she "comforted" me.  My recollection: too much cleavage and not enough fabric.

It's a good time to mention that I am a germaphobe.  Using the payphone was already me traveling wildly outside my comfort zone.  Being embraced by a malodorous, scantily-clad, bridge-dwelling stranger nearly made me will my heart to stop beating.  The caravan just stood on and watched my extremely intimate moment with my mom, the filthy payphone and the Wonder.  Thanks, Caravan.

Thirteen years later, I'm still thankful for the Wonder.  She chose to love me by meeting my need the best way she knew.  She wasn’t equipped for the job (as in we had zero relationship and she had zero bra).  She wasn't concerned with what I would think of her.  She didn’t say, “I’m too busy doing this random thing under the bridge to be bothered with that girl.”  No.  She ran to me to offer literally all she had- herself.

Do we love like the Wonder?  I sure don't.  We are WAY more put together than her (I promise you.  I was there.) but we don’t think we’re quite together enough to bravely love.  There are excellent excuses.  I get that.  I make them too.   I John 3:18 reads:

Let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.

Could we offer ourselves even if we are inadequate?  Um, yes.  That's all we'll ever be, no offense. I'm challenged to try to meet someone's practical need today.  See if you can do the same.  Then, if you are a Believer, make sure to tell the person why you chose to step out in love.  God loved you first.