I sold my old, little, faithful Jetta this week. Silver, square, a so-called sport wagon, which falls uncomfortably close to the station wagon category, it’s carried me many miles. On road and in life.
Around town, up to the mountains, out on adventures, towards lakes and trails and trees; away from a cookie cutter, inauthentic life and down a quirky, wild, unmapped road of the heart. That car has seen me through a great deal.
I have to admit I shed a few tears after it was gone, even felt bad for the little guy, like it would think I abandoned it and didn’t want it anymore, but it was time. I’m driving my brother’s Durango now, Dad had it all fixed up and put some wicked all terrain tires on for back road adventuring- we never would have spent last weekend camping by a giant waterfall if not for that beast, and I just don’t need two cars.
Still though, I have felt the loss of the vehicle that represented so many growing pains and becomings for me, along with a growing awareness of just how much stuff we are going to have to release before we move.
Letting go is definitely not for the faint of heart. I don’t think we realize the emotional, energetic and physical space that objects and people take up in our lives. The towns we live, the homes we inhabit, the people we call family and friends, the things that fill our homes, the wheels that take us from one place to another- it’s like we’re all teeny tiny satellites who learn to gravitate towards and orbit around the planets of our solar systems based on all the other teeny tiny satellites in the area.
We arrange our lives around all the things that fill our space.
Then something shifts and depending on how big that something was, you get knocked out of orbit. At best, it’s a small shift and you can quickly adapt, find your way back on course again. But sometimes the shift is so profound you get knocked out of the system entirely.
I drove that little Jetta away from an old life once, the trunk packed with clothes and books and boxes of sadness, I backed out of a house for the last time, a place I was never going to call home again. Drove down the road to a new address, about 300 square feet in the bottom of somebody else’s home that I painted blue and paid monthly rent for. Strewn with little Christmas lights and bright pictures and jars of flowers, I began to learn that I had needed to wander outside of my own lines, fall off the edges of myself, so I could find out who I truly was meant to be in this life.
Spinning and disoriented, I was knocked out of my old system entirely. I no longer had a physical home or a partner in life that created a sense of home. I had to learn how to build a home inside my heart so I could take that sense of belonging with me everywhere I went. I found myself zipping around in my trusty sport wagon to the different satellites that began to compose the new landscape of my life. New faces, new spaces, new places: that faithful car helped me find new orbit.
I learned a lot about letting go in those years. That it can break your heart. That the heart is a remarkably resilient creature. That anytime we willingly release, clear out an old space, life will always bring us to a new space of self. That life will honor our leaps of faith when we are called to jump. That you can’t negotiate with life, keep one foot on the security of shore, if you want to see what’s waiting on the other side.
Those were the years where men came and went- some of them absolutely crushing, and I learned even more about the necessity of boundaries, and goodbyes, and how the heart has the capacity to knit itself back together and find a way to keep expanding when we learn to love ourselves. Those were the years my old gremlin, ever present, constant companion who I affectionately called Dog, passed away- and I learned that the love we have inside will always be with us, that love endures beyond the physicality of this place.
And those were the years I finally found new love on a rainy, Oregonian, serendipitous day. Which would eventually lead me to expand my sense of home to include one former Oregonian, two little white dogs, one high needs calico cat, and a little cottage in the woods with rainbow walls and secret gardens.
Like I said earlier, anytime we willingly release, clear out an old space, life will always bring us to a new space of self. And I’ve loved this current space. But I’m being called to jump again, leave this solar system behind.
Death will change you. Brent’s death changed me. Pushed me to go sooner rather than later. I’m scared sometimes. Overwhelmed at others. Totally rip roaringly excited underneath it all. Ready to see how Life shows up for this leap of faith. And ready, though difficult it will be, to let go when it is time to let go.
That little silver bullet is part of the past, and is now carting his new owner around, making new Alaskan memories. While I have beaches in my- not quite so distant as it felt back in the spring, getting scarily closer- future. And a Durango with wicket all terrain tires that’s going with me, capable of driving out on the white sandy beaches of my brother’s favorite beach, MacArthur Park.
Where we can pop the trunk, let a couple little white dogs run free. Stare out at the ocean, say hello to the other side. Bask in the sun, be for a bit. Then head back to the new space of home.