This week we said goodbye to a car and a camera bag. My wife has had the car since 2006. I have lived with it for a year. When my wife moved into our house the car moved into my life. It wasted no time and began sucking that life out of me the first month; new tires, new struts, new noises then the final cough and sputter that brought it to its death.
As my wife kissed it goodbye it wasn’t the Volvo she thought of. It was all the trips the Volvo had been part of, college group trips, beach trips, road trips, dates and carrying things. The search for the car and God’s leading are even part of her Volvo lore.
The camera bag has been with me since roughly 1985. It was with me with my first girlfriend, it was with me in my first marriage, it was there to welcome my child, to grow with my childs’ friends and now into my second marriage. It has seen a lot. It was even the focus of a blog post in 2009. It is not the camera bag I remember it is the events where it was present.
We get attached to things because we imbibe the things with meaning. Certainly we suffer the loss of the practical. We now are in need of a car to transport us. I need to be able to easily transport my camera and gear. When we go shopping it will be difficult. For we will be buying a car-just a car. It will not come with a load of memories (a good thing because dealers would charge extra for that). I will be looking for a practical camera bag. We will both want something that was as comfortable and as perfect a fit as camera bag and car were though they didn’t feel that way initially.
This is the reason for altars in the old testament and sacraments in the new. When Jacob had a dream he made his rock pillow into an altar. Not because the pillow was special but to remember the event that occurred. In the same way we have baptisms and communion. Not that they are magical in themselves. They are imbibed with meaning because of word and experience. The Word became flesh and dwelt among us. We have this truth and this relationship that we’ve experienced through many years.
My camera bag will be in the trash heap this Friday. The Volvo will be sold this following week. We will take communion for months and years to follow. Next time that I do I will spend an extra minute linking the event with richness of experiences I’ve had as Christ follower. Let us then celebrate the richness of the temporary as conduit to the experiences of the eternal.