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Editorial: The Death of My First Car

Published Date: November 1, 2023

It was my junior year of college. I was finally getting around to purchasing a little piece of independence: my first car. After months of looking on Craigslist and, I found something in my price range. Just a week before the world shut down in 2020, I finalized the purchase of a red 2007 Subaru Forester. The random license plate I received contained the letters JRE – Julia’s Red Engine. It wasn’t perfect, but it was mine.

I christened this vehicle Captain Solo (as a hat tip to both Marvel and Star Wars); “Cap” for short. The symmetrical all-wheel drive saved me in the snow a number of times. Cap moved my stuff out of my college dorm and into my seminary apartment. This car was my constant companion in the nine-hour treks between Kentucky and my stomping grounds. However, I found out earlier this fall that Cap’s days were numbered.

The trouble with vehicles from up north is the salt damage. My garage informed me that the problems I noticed in September probably wouldn’t be worth fixing, since it looked like a whole lot of others things were about to go, too. I figured I’d still have a few months to look for something new, even though it made me sad. I was wrong.

In mid-October, I loaded Cap up to head to my friend’s wedding in central Pennsylvania. I had checked my oil and topped off my power steering fluid before embarking. Things went great for the first seven hours or so. Suddenly, about an hour and a half out, a whole bunch of lights came on, I lost acceleration, and smoke came out of both ends. Thankfully, I was able to pull off safely, but I had a feeling that was it for Cap.

To say I was in distress would be a bit of an understatement. First, I called my dad, then AAA, then my friend. In retrospect, God provided in huge ways in those few hours. When it turned out AAA couldn’t help me (their long-distance tow trucks were out-of-state), my friend’s parents went to bat. The one private towing company I called was contracted for the Penn State game (although they helped me the next day). I collected the items from my car that I would need/want again as cars whipped by at 70 mph. My friend’s dad ended up coming to get me as I abandoned Cap on the highway. I wondered if it would be my last time to lay eyes on that lovely Subaru.

Another of my college friends attending the wedding was nearly ready to take me all the way back to Kentucky. However, what she ended up doing was equally significant. (Her car is from 1993, and her parents thought a last-minute road trip might not be a fabulous idea.) I booked a flight out of Harrisburg. This friend very graciously took me there the day after the wedding and gave refuge to the bags of items from my car that I couldn’t take on the plane. One of my seminary friends was ready to pick me up on the other end.

Why have I told you all of this? First of all, it has been weighing heavily on my mind. Second, I don’t think I’m the only one that needs a reminder of God’s provision in dire circumstances. Even though I felt like I’d reached the end of my rope in the four hours I sat in my dead vehicle on the side of the road, it didn’t take long to be reminded that God is still good. It is my prayer that, when you feel you’ve reached the end of your rope, the God of all comfort makes Himself especially known.

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One response to “Editorial: The Death of My First Car”

  1. Robert Moorlach says:

    Great story! The first car I ever owned also died while I was attending ATS. I also had signs of its impending death. I will never forget a trip to Maryland from Kentucky to deliver things a couple of seminary friends left in Wilmore following their wedding. The alternator quit at the top of pass over the Allegheny’s yet I was able to coast down an off-ramp right into a repair shop (had to be a God-thing). My little Honda Accord died, though, while I was going between Lexington and Wilmore after work. I was following a car too close, ended up losing control on some gravel which had gotten on the highway and plowing into the sturdy corner post of a horse farm fence. Thankfully, the farm family was friendly and more concerned about my health. My seminary roommate came to collect me, and the car insurance agents were gracious and helped me go through the whole replacement process without a worry. God was still working.

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