Tuesday, April 21, 2009

So long, Saturn

I no longer own my Saturn. As of yesterday, it belongs to a dear friend, M, who needs it much more than I. That car meant SO very much to me and, even though, it's only a machine (and a pretty worn-out machine at that) I admit having tears in my eyes as I watched M drive off in it.

I bought the Saturn new, in 1997. I was fresh out of a divorce from a controlling, abusive husband, and stuck driving the car that HE deemed necessary for me to drive. And weeding out of my closet the clothes HE had deemed appropriate. And giving away jewelry that HE had approved for me to wear. (Those of you who know me are shaking your heads, wondering how on earth he ever controlled me to that extent, but he did)

So, even though I had a perfectly fine car ('95 Mitsubishi Galant), I set off in search of a new car, one that was ME. One that didn't remind me every single day of the jerk who had picked it out. I settled on an adorable little green Saturn coupe, with leather seats, sunroof and a CD player. I drove off the lot, popped in a Pearl Jam CD and drove the entire loop around Indianapolis, reveling in a decision that *I* had made on my own, and on having something that entirely belonged to me.

That car, like my beloved Wicka kitty, was a constant through all the turbulent years that were to follow, and the ones of amazing peace (that passes understanding) that would eventually fill my life. It has hauled drunken friends when I was the designated driver. It has carried me home w/someone else at the wheel when I wasn't. It was the perfect car for Broad Ripple clubbing because I could parallel park it anywhere. It has ferried Wicka on countless trips from Indy down to Mom and Dad's for the weekend, and brought me and Max from Indiana to Texas to begin my new life here. It has served as a dump truck when I've had to fold the seats down and toss in bags of dirt at Home Depot. It has been my carriage when we went to formal parties downtown, dressed in our finest. I have wrestled a baby car seat into the back bucket seat, even though I distinctly remember picking the coupe over the sedan because *I* was never going to have kids. A lot has changed in 12 years.

And, even though there is absolutely nothing extraordinary about the car itself (meaning that my ex would never have even considered it because there was no BMW tag on the front or other status attached to it) it has been an extension of me, through all the stages of my independent adult life. And every time I walked outside to get into it, I saw all of that, and how much better my life is now.

But, back to M. She is referred to here by initial only because she is in an even worse situation than I was when I bought this car. She has fled with her two children and is living in fear of her husband, hammering out a divorce settlement with him. He has physically abused her, and her children, and she took the kids and left to protect them. Until yesterday, she was doing that without a car. So, after months of paperwork and hassles (thank you, State of Indiana BMV) she now has a car. It's a 12-year-old, rather banged-up car, but it's a car.

I drove it to deliver it to her yesterday, with Pearl Jam blaring, and remembered exactly, painfully, where I had been when I first drove like that in March of 1997. And reflecting on how far God has brought me, how different my life is, and how many rich, deep blessings came from that horrible period in my life.

M got into the car, and said exactly what I had felt 12 years ago, "I can't believe I am going to have something that is all mine, that HE didn't pick out for me" And so begins another chapter of a woman reclaiming her life and her freedom, and again the Saturn is there. She will be building memories of emerging from this abuse as a stronger, more independent woman who knows her worth, and will not let anyone take that from her again. And I am grateful to have been a part of that.


  1. What a post about freedom. Thank you for sharing that hard story. I know M will be blessed by the car.

  2. I know the story and yet that was amazing. Thank you Love.

  3. So for months I've been meaning to tell you that this was beautifully written!