I’ve struggled with writing about this subject for a while; mostly due to shame and embarrassment, but now the timing feels right. I have been encouraged to always write from my heart and not my mind, so here goes. I too am impressed by Pope Francis’ modest means of transportation even though it is a cute little Fiat 500. I believe that the last “celebrity” I saw driving one of these was J Lo. But more important than that is the fact that the Pope is a humble man with a simple message for all people and he radiates love. I recall getting goose bumps the first time I looked into his eyes on TV and I have a deep reverence for him. Humility and automobiles are relevant to me also. My dad was a car salesman and back in the day they could order their own demonstrators. As kids, we rode around in some pretty hot cars. I’m not talking about old fuddy-duddy cars either; I’m talking about a plum crazy Dodge Challenger, a Dodge Super Bee with a large bumblebee spoiler on the back, an orange AMX, Pontiac Firebirds….you get the picture. So my brother and I have always been pretty passionate about cars. I bought my first car when I was sixteen years old while still going to high school and working two jobs. I have owned a car ever since then; until now. When we were a single family living in the cornfield years ago, I decided to buy a late model red Honda Accord Coupe; the most expensive car I had ever owned. It seemed right at the time because I had just landed a new job and I would be making considerably more money than I had in the past. I drove that car for almost 300,000 miles until the back of the driver’s side seat had to be propped up with a banana produce box from the grocery store. There were several times when the electric door locks wouldn’t work and I had to climb through the sunroof to get out of the car. But I loved the car; I liked not having a car payment and I was determined to get my moneys worth out of it. When it FINALLY did come time to buy a new car, I decided to be totally impractical and buy the little two seat convertible that I had always wanted. After all, that is one of “Life’s Little Instructions”. When you own your own business, you don’t even have to go to the dealership to buy a car. You can make a phone call and if they have what you are looking for, they will deliver the car to you. They did and I signed on the dotted line. Life was good. I lived at the beach. I owned my own business and now I had my little dream car. Did you know that anytime the temperature is at least 50 degrees and you own a convertible, you should put the top down? Now you’re probably thinking this blog is about cars, but it’s really not; it’s about humility. After I sold the business and took several weeks off to regroup, I took the only job that I could find. Unfortunately I was making a lot less money than I was accustomed to, but I was just grateful to have a job at that point. Several months in I was struggling big time financially and knew I had to make some tough decisions. Did I want to continue living in my little house or keep the car? Of course I wanted both. The continuous loop back then was to get behind on the car payments and then a “miracle” would happen and I would catch up. Eventually I qualified for a hardship refinance but I still couldn’t make it work. My lender went over and beyond to work with me; after all there were a lot of people in the same boat as I was and what else could they do? I tried to give the car back to them at one point but they said “ma’am we’re not in the business of buying and selling cars”. I tried selling it out right but money was scarce, especially for the type of buyers that I could attract. The car needed new tires which were very expensive and someone had slit the rag top with a box cutter while it was parked in a parking lot and I couldn’t pay the deductible to have it fixed. The financial stress of holding onto it became unbearable. Even though my payment was current at the time, I decided to let it go. I drove to a public parking lot in the area and called my son to pick me up. I was too ashamed and embarrassed to have them pick it up from my home. The only “tool” that I carried with me to take the license plates off was a rubber jar lid gripper out of the kitchen drawer. My son laughed when he got there and said “Mom, couldn’t you find anything better than this to use?” I left a note to the lender on the console thanking them for working with me over the past months and for the awesome privilege of being able to drive that little car for a while. I then went home and cried, called the bank and let them know where I had left it. I remembered that I had left something in the car, but when I went back less than thirty minutes later, it was already gone. Shortly thereafter I received a letter from the bank advising me that the car had been sold at auction for pretty close to what I owed on it. God is good. Humility is tough! When I later shared the story with my best friend, she told me how courageous what I did was and how proud she was of me. I never really looked at it that way; I saw myself as a failure at the time. The crazy thing about it is they no longer make that particular model car so it will probably appreciate in value over time. Of course every now and then I see one and wonder if it was mine. My faith tells me that one day I will be able to drive any type of car that I want to again. But today this is where God has me and I’m pretty grateful for where I am. A lot of people I know lost jobs, finances, homes and everything during the 2008 recession. There but for the grace of God go I.