Looking out from Under the Hood

 I love the movie Cars. Especially the first one. But even the sequel impressed me. I still remember watching the first Cars movie in our local theater with my then three princesses, the oldest not even six years old at the time.

As the credits began to roll [we always stay for the credits. That’s when they play the best songs on the soundtrack,] my kindergarten graduate leans over to me and whispers, “Mommy, I’m the blue car, and Bryce is the red car.”

I smile and giggle. Then I lean over to share the news with hubby. Guess what? Our first born has a crush on someone. And his immediate response: “Well then, we’ll just have to take the blue car and put it in the garage. Lock the door. And store the key.” He might have said, ‘throw away the key,’ but I’m gonna give him the benefit of the doubt. I think he just worries that this little girl with a genetic disposition to being boy-crazy if she’s anything like her mama, might be getting ahead of her time. No dad wants to see their little girl grow up too fast. Of course.I’m married to a man who loves to drive. I think one of his life long ambitions is to drive every possible type of vehicle. So far, he’s driven a car, a pick-up, a 40 foot Penske truck, a boat, a small plane, a go-cart, a dirt bike, and as of late, our twenty-seven foot RV. I like to drive too. Drive Sun crazy, that is! 😉

Anyway, this driver of a ’94 Honda Accord is also the proud owner of an ’88 Corvette. A little red Corvette. No joke. Sitting in our driveway as I type. Looking very pretty.

The thing is, under the hood of that Corvette, a relatively healthy engine still resides. But other than that, it’s a mess. Needs a new fuel pump, fuel gage, and there’s some electrical component that malfunctions, causing the lights and the radio to remain on, draining the battery. We have already gone through two batteries and only owned the piece of … [watch your tone, Raj] beauty for less than a year.

How do I know all this, you might ask? Unbeknownst to hubs, I had a car doctor pay our red baby a house visit the other day. A friend of a friend knew someone who knew someone who is an expert on this very year of Corvettes. You see, as a Father’s Day gift to hubby and heck, why not throw birthday present in there as well since it comes up soon after, I had [I emphasize the past tense here] this great idea to get the car up and running. Not completely fixed. I know that takes oodles and oodles of dough. And I ain’t talking the kind that makes cake. I’m talking the green stuff. With lots of zeros on it. Anyway, I hoped to get it at least purring so that hubby could drive it around the block. Or even to work once in awhile, since the hospital is less than five miles away.

But, [I hate when the But puts on the brakes in life,] the job requires a little more than I had budgeted for. A lot more actually. Triple what I was hoping. So I must rethink my plan. Christmas gift perhaps?

Sorry hubs! :(  Soon. I promise.

The thing about cars is they’re not that different from us. We can look great on the outside, but if we’re not taking care of what’s on the inside, what no one can see, we can be accumulating damage that costs us more than a pretty penny to repair. When we hide addictions, bad habits, or lies inside us, or other toxic stuff like hatred, unforgiveness or anger, the stuff tends to leak and the next thing you know, you just can’t function. Even though you might have your make-up perfectly manicured, your dress shoes all buffed and shiny and you’re having a great hair day, if you’re a mess on the inside, what’s the point?

I’m all for balance. I think we need to take care of both. But if there’s a day or a season in your life when you only have time for one, choose the inside first. The outside is only cosmetic. And in a number of years, even the make-up won’t cover up the wrinkles. And that’s okay. Because I think the most beautiful people are the ones who age gracefully. Full of grace. Aware of their inner health and the state of their heart.

Just one last thing about cars. Not too long ago, we were driving on the highway, and hubs notices every Mustang that passes us. It’s like a Mustang show must have just finished, because every year and color is passing us on the left and the right. You see, even if a Corvette sits in our driveway, my hubby’s dream car is a Ford Mustang. So his eyes are growing with each passing car and I know he’s hungry. But the funny thing is, we can’t see the inside of those cars. We can only see the outside. And as we drive, we can only see the inside of our car, not the outside.

Do you see where I’m going with this?

When you walk around, unless you’re one of those rare types that carries a mirror with you and pulls it out every few minutes to check for pepper in your teeth, you don’t spend too much time looking at yourself. But as you go through life, you notice how other’s look. What they’re wearing, if they put on or lost a few pounds, if they got their hair done or just rolled out of bed. You notice these things. The same way they notice these things about you.

The part of you that you see, without a mirror, is your inside. Sure, no one spends every second thinking about themselves, the condition of their heart, soul-searching and deep in self-examination. But  when it comes down to it, people who don’t know you are only concerned with the surface. Those who are close to you, those who know you, decide if they want to continue to know you, based on your inside. You, if you’re thinking about long term physically and emotionally healthy living, should care about your inside. Don’t leave something in there that drains the very life out of you. Be honest with yourself. That’s the hardest part. But the first step. One step at a time.

Focus. Friends. Faith. These three have given me the courage to face my inside and out. One step at a time.

And think Lightening McQueen. Aiming for Ka Chow! On the inside and out! Cuz life is a highway…

**So how ’bout you? What are you driving these days? Is there something inside you that needs tuning? Is it time to clean house?


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