It’s just stuff & other musings as Christmas fast approaches…

This past Monday, theWeez asked me to go with her to a FaceBook marketplace “meetup” so she could finish the purchase of some goodie or another. I’m all for accompanying my daughter (or any daughter for that matter) who is going to meet with a stranger, even if (esp. if?) its in a wide open & public space (like, say, Arby’s Northtowne) & so the two of us piled into theBeans Buick Enclave, her pearly white ride & glide, her cruiser, aka “Maxine.” 

As we started down Sutro Street, we were talking about her student midwife schedule & if she thought her Christmas would involve helping catch a baby or 4, when out of the corner of my right eye I saw a silver flash that registered TRUCK. There was no one in oncoming traffic so I swerved to the left to attempt to avoid a “truck on passenger door” impact. The good news is I did avoid the contact on the passenger door (behind which my precious cargo, the one & only theWeez was sitting,)  but the bad news is Maxine got hit, t-boned really, on the rear passenger door & rear panel something FIERCE.

The next 30 minutes went like you’d expect it to have gone: checking for immediately apparent injuries, getting the car to a safe spot, & then interacting with the other driver. It took a while to get pictures to document the damage & get the drivers pertinent information (drivers license pic, current vehicle insurance pic, etc….) but as soon as we were finished, we turned ol’ Maxine around & made our way back up the hill to our work parking lot. TheBean met us at the top of the driveway; she wasn’t pleased that her car was smashed (who would be) & we spent the next 30-45 minutes rehearsing with her what had happened & also making sure that theWeez & I were really ok, as sometimes the aches & pains from a sudden collision can take a minute (or 60) to show up. 

I went into my office & turned on some calming music (Jeff Deyo‘s “From Eternity.” Highly recommend it, & I’m listening to it as I type.) I’d attempted to use the iPhone app for our insurance company to get the ‘claim’ started only to find the app to be < functional, meaning, I had to do it the old fashioned (think 2020) way & use my laptop through the company’s webpage. 

Total time from accident til claim fully filed: approximately 100 minutes. Sigh. 

Throughout this process (3 days in now) theBean & I have focused on how Maxine, how the car, no matter how beloved & full of more potential future years of driving fun, is Just Stuff. It’s Just Stuff. I KNOW that. She KNOWS that. But at a time when there’s a lurking set of questions where there wasn’t a question before (stuff like: “is the car repairable? will the insurance company total it? will it ever be the same? if the car IS totaled, what will we get for it? & if we have to look for a car will we be able to find one that fits our needs?” etc…) we’re (ok, I’m) struck by how much this Just Stuff is occupying my brain space.

I’ve wrestled through anger & frustration at the other driver, wondering HOW could she NOT see us, which I know completely dehumanizes her, & removes all the human processes, distractions,  & interruptions that cloud every single one of us at times. I’ve intentionally not vented, mostly because I know if I do give myself over to that, with all the frustrations & inconveniences that are arising from this accident, I’d ponder & muse & pout & spew all sorts of grossness. 

So, silence. Which led to more deep thoughts with Louie… I thought about Christmas coming up & Christmases past, & specifically THIS Christmas with just me & theBean sharing our permanent address right now; I thought about our couple decades long pursuit of decluttering (aka “reducing the amount of Stuff we have in our lives;) I thought about other times when the desire (masquerading as “Deeply Felt Need”) for Just Stuff has preoccupied my thought processes & consumed my attention & my finances. I thought about times I’ve been places where people didn’t have much Just Stuff; it often seemed that they were just barely squeaking by, albeit with a level of contentedness & joy far surpassing their circumstances. I thought about Scripture & Jesus’ admonition about our Just Stuff (aka ‘treasures’). Specifically this, with some of my own words & emphasis added:

Do not lay up for yourselves treasures (Just Stuff) on earth, where moth & rust destroy & where thieves break in & steal, (or where distracted drivers can tbone your wife’s car,)  but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys & where thieves do not break in & steal. For where your TREASURE is, there your HEART will also be. Matthew 6:19-21 English Standard & Louie Processing Version

All of this, all of it, to say: theBean & I are in a great spot where even the unanswered questions & challenges & inconveniences of being down a car for however long this takes, are not insurmountable or soul-crushing. We’re not in danger of going under, of losing our jobs, or being hospitalized, or worse. We are finding thankfulness & contentedness in the midst of inconvenience. Things we’ve thought & felt & said “It’s Just Stuff” gets challenged & we get to see just how we navigate when our Just Stuff goes the way that Just Stuff Always Goes. 

And I’m reminded of Christ’s coming, His 1st Advent we celebrate each year at Christmas & His pending 2nd Advent which I look forward to with increasing amounts of longing as each year goes by. 

Merry Christmas.