Captain America and me were driving around the other day. That’s the name I’ve given to our old, faithful car that we’ve had for over a decade. Yes, my wife and I have a disagreement on whether or not a car should have a guy or girl name, but that’s a discussion for a different time. For now, I’m sticking with “Cap”, as I call him.
As I glanced down at the odometer, I did some quick math and realized we have driven Cap for over 170,000 miles since we bought it used many years ago. At first, my mind embraced the thought that the vast majority of those miles had been free of major car repairs. That’s always a good feeling. But then, as my car shifted to a different gear, my mind did, as well.
WARNING: The following math is subjective. For the record, I have no idea how fast I was driving for every mile Cap has traveled. Glad we cleared that up 🙂
Doing some quick math, I figured that if each of those miles represented a minute of time (some miles went quicker, some slower), Sara and/or myself have driven that car for 2,833 hours. That’s basically 3,000 hours of memories, give or take!
And then the actual memories started flooding in:
- The fact this was the vehicle we placed our first child into as we headed home from the hospital.
- The Native American young people we transported across the great state of Arizona, and the amazing conversations we had with them along the way.
- The nervous yet faith-filled conversations Sara and I had about the health challenges our second child was facing, and the countless trips back-and-forth to the doctors in the months awaiting his arrival.
- The memory of pulling over to serenade Sara with “Annie’s Song” by John Denver on the 1 1/2 hour drive from town to our home on the rez.
- The heartache for those we were leaving behind, yet the excitement about what was ahead, as we loaded up the car and moved from Arizona to Arkansas.
- Bringing our youngest child (starting off life at 10 lbs., 10 oz.!) home from the hospital a short couple of months after settling into our new home.
There are so many more, from what seemed to be simple conversations to moments of uproarious, tear-inducing laughter. The fact is, those 2,833 hours are filled with moments that have helped knit my family together in inexplicable ways, and helped shape us in ways that only God truly knows.
And that is what really gets me – so many minutes filled with such rich memories, and I definitely have missed some of them as the mile markers have flown by. It’s easy to get distracted by what’s around us, isn’t it? It might be frustration from a traffic slowdown, or a missed exit, or dissension in the back seat…which rarely happens, of course 😉 But, I have a God who loves me in mind-blowing ways, and that same Heavenly Father uses those very distractions to weave a beautiful tapestry across the miles.
“This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalm 118:24
He slows me down in unexpected ways, He fills the air with life-giving laughter, He challenges my faith with medical news, He shapes me as a dad as I play games or act as referee. But maybe most importantly in those 2,833 hours, He has consistently grown the love in my heart as I’ve glanced at my bride riding next to me, and as I’ve snuck a peak in the rear view mirror at the full quiver He has blessed me with.
We have another primary family car now, and there are a million memories that have occurred outside of Cap. But for now, I’m grateful for the 2,833 hours of memories in that vehicle. May none of us miss out on the moments, wherever they may spring up.
“Rejoice always…give thanks in all circumstances.” 1 Thess. 5:16, 18a