Last week, I shared the story of how we acquired my daughter’s Jeep. Fast forward to about a year later. My sister reached out to me about finding a car for my niece, who was in town attending Alabama A&M University. It appears they thought I was pretty good at finding deals. My niece came over and we discussed cars. A few weeks went by and nothing was gelling. Finally I asked her what did she actually want. She didn’t have a clue. Therein lay the part of the problem. She, and subsequently, we had not set our divine GPS. I asked her to decide on exactly what she wanted, down to the color. She finally said, “I like Imani’s car. Something like that would be good, except I want mine to be white.” Cool. Before the evening was over we had scoured the internet looking at white Jeep Liberties.
I found one she liked in Montevallo, AL. It fit the profile and the price range. The next day, my niece and partner met at the bank to get the financing together. I planned to drive down to Montevallo and proceed with the purchase of the car. For some reason, they took forever and a day to get the bank stuff in order. I was hours later leaving than planned. Now it was going to be thigh thick with Birmingham rush hour traffic. I was not a happy camper. I called my daughter on the way down (She had transferred to University of Alabama in Birmingham). I figured since she had a jeep she could be instrumental in the details. I scooped her up from UAB campus and continued my journey.
Highway 280 was horrendous. I was stopping every five feet, it seemed.. We would never make it there before dark like that. My anxiety was spilling out in the car. “This is utterly ridiculous!”, I stated at the beginning of my rant, from the snail paced traffic, to them taking so long at the bank, to the world state of affairs. My daughter was quiet. I could feel her looking at me from the passenger seat. “Being upset won’t get us there any sooner. There’s nothing we can do about the traffic.” Yep. she did it again. Found that button that had been stuck in the on position and adjusted it accordingly. I took a deep breath and exhaled. With that breath went the anxiety. I had breathed in the realization that I wasn’t going to affect any of this with my attitude. Just be in the moment. Sometime our children have an awesome way of giving us back to ourselves.
My daughter was here with me and we would be in the car for a while so that time was of value. We ended up having great conversations about school, life, and just stuff. She had pulled some good laughs out of me by the time we pulled up to the white Jeep in the parking lot of Montevallo University. The owner drove up as we we walking around the car. The internet photos looked so much better. The paint was really scratched up. The tires were all odd and worn. The beck spare was a different size. The interior had seen better days. When I started it up, the sound was less than satisfying. There was something that wasn’t quite right. My mood was dropping right along with the prospect of this being the car. I asked my daughter how it sounded to her since she drove a Jeep. She said it sounded different. We took it for a drive to a local mechanic shop. After a few minutes, I had a subtle sneaky suspicion the shop owner and the car owner knew each other. The mechanic on duty was about to tell us something. The shop owner stopped him and turned full tilt into a car salesman. The jig was up. My spidey senses were tingling all over the place. My daughter looked at me and asked, “Do you get that same good feeling in your stomach as when you bought my car?” “No, not at all.” I replied. The car owner wouldn’t budge on his asking price. We took the car back to its resting place and left.
As we drove back toward Birmingham, I keep saying to myself. “I don’t understand. This was it. This was the trip for the Jeep. I really though that was the car. Everything was in place. It was supposed to happen. Was my method faulty, my faith finicky?” It just didn’t make sense. I decided to take my daughter’s earlier wisdom and enjoy the journey and time we had. We stopped at the Purple Peanut in Birmingham and had scrumptious veggie burgers. I asked here not to tell anyone about not getting the Jeep, especially my niece. She would be devastated since she was expecting me to return with the car. I took my daughter back to campus, checked the fluids in her Jeep and headed back home to Huntsville.
Still befuddle, I kept replaying everything in my head. All the signs had been in place. Where had I gone wrong? I made a few calls on the way home, using the time to catch on on some chatting. As I talked to my partner, I shared the events of the evening, from my disappointments to the wonderful time I shared with Imani. Then I missed my exit. “I’ll get the next one.” I said, a bit frustrated as it had started to drizzle rain. I hate driving in the rain. “Don’t tell herabout the Jeep.”, I said, feeling defeated.
“Why not, she’s going to find out anyway.” she responded.
“Just, please don’t tell her.”
I missed the next exit too. What the heck was going on? I’d taken this route more times than I can remember and never missed an exit or turn. By then I had called my mother and shared the events of the evening. “Well, everything happens for a reason.” She gave her usual reply. It wasn’t helping, but I took it. I finally got off at the Athens exit and headed back to huntsville. “I’m all the way in Athens, Mom. This is crazy.” “Well at least you made it back most of the way safe.” She said. This woman was not going to let me grovel and groan in peace. As I headed back to Huntsville from the opposite direction, I caught a glimpse of a white Jeep to my right. I was just about dark so I wasn’t totally clear. I said, “Mom, I think I just saw a Jeep like the one we were looking for.” “Be careful, she exclaimed. It’s dark outside.” Mom, I’m grown.” I said only to myself and excitedly whipped my car around, went back and pulled up next to it. “It looks good.” I said. “Let me call you back.” I got out of the car and inspected the white Jeep Liberty I had been led to. The mileage was much lower than the others we had seen. The paint look nearly new, as did the tires. The interior was all intact and without visible wear. Although the price was beyond what we wanted to pay, I knew this was her car. I called the number on the window. The gentleman on the other end said it had been his niece’s car. He’d only had to replace the tires and windshield wipers. he was self employed so he could meet me the next morning to check it out.
As I sat in the bank office with my niece next to me and the car parked outside, I turned to her and said. “I guess I should let you know that the Jeep outside is snot the one I drove down to get.” “What do you mean?” she asked. “It’s right there.” “That’s not the same one though.” I responded and went on to relay the story to her right there in the office. She sat there in awe through the last part of the story. The Loan officer, smiling behind his computer, chimed in, “Now that’s God in action .”
Trust the process, even when you don’t understand the manner of unfolding. Everything on that journey was serving as an informant to usher me to a new level of understanding and trust. Sometimes you’ll be taken out of your way to get to the way. Once you set you intent and begin the process, trust it. I no longer limit my faculties to the realm of belief. It’s a type of knowing now. I always go a little further, get clear, make up my mind, and walk in that space that I like to call miracle territory. That’s real liberty.