I chose this photo for this topic because it reminds me of Forrest Gump and how his accidental, naive, and even stupid decisions always managed to work out for his gain. I LOVE that movie…. even though some parts are very sad.
My post yesterday mentioned how thankful I am for second chances…… and I wrote about an accident I had that nearly cost me my life – yet, I left out a small, but very significant part of the story that occurred nine months earlier……..
In fall of 1996 I was having a LOT of car troubles. I had an old Ford Aerostar station wagon that I had inherited from my parents. I did not mind driving it because it held TONS of my college friends, which was very convenient for us all. I was really struggling, however, because the car was at a point where it was in the shop more than it was out of the shop and I felt that I was dealing with constant streams of repairs – it was endless and highly inconvenient. Finally, by November, I had enough. I began to look for a new car. A few friend were kind enough to join me as I visited various car lots looking for the car I wanted to purchase…. nothing really struck my fancy.
Then a friend of mine and I went to the Nissan lot and I fell IN LOVE with the pathfinder. THIS was the car I HAD to have. I LOVED it. I lived in a place with lots of mountains and plenty of opportunities to go off-roading – I wanted a car that had 4-wheel drive – it would be FUN. A car is a toy, right???
I did not have the finances necessary to purchase that car, but somehow I talked my grandmother (RIP) into loaning me the down payment and co-signing on the loan. I was a student finishing up graduate school and had my first full-time job and really had no business buying a new car when I was not financially able to qualify on my own. I should have looked for a used Honda, etc. While I loved the car, I did realize very shortly after the purchase that it was not a wise choice to make – it was over my budget, extravagant, unnecessary. I enjoyed it, but I had been caught up with my wants, instead of my needs. I felt VERY guilty and embarrassed that I had succumbed to the traps of our consumer society.
Nine months later, when I was rear-ended by that one-ton truck at 55mph, suddenly the extravagance was no longer extravagant… it was a life saver. When I was hit by that one-ton truck the back-end of the Pathfinder bucked under and I came about one inch from hitting the car in front of me. Had I been in a smaller, more economic vehicle, I would have been crushed like an accordion between the one-ton truck and the car in front of me. That ridiculous purchase saved my life.
After the accident I never again felt guilty for that purchase. The expensive car payments saved my life. It was worth it. Perhaps, just perhaps, my strong pull to purchase that SUV had less to do with my own consumer desires and more to do with divine intervention. I am sure I am not the only person with such an experience.
Today, 248 days ’til 40, I am so thankful that I made a ridiculous, irresponsible (fiscally) purchase that ultimately saved my life (by the way, today I drive a humble Honda accord that is over 10 years old!)