Christ As Us
Home Daily Thoughts history community infiniteSupply testimonies books links
Articles And Letters  

A Tribute to Blue

by John Collings

     Blue is my oldest friend.  We have been close for more than 13 years, and he has been with me through many events that have shaped my life. He is, in fact, a remembrance of how God has shaped my life the last 13 years.  He is the only one who has walked with me through those turbulent days of searching to find meaning in life, through divorce, through loss, through finding life and love and fulfillment. Walked with me is really wrong, Blue, drove me through all these events, and continues to.  Now that he is old and scarred with many memories, people see us together and wonder what I see in him and why don't I dump him for another who looks better.  If I can be honest with myself, I must admit that he probably should be put away.  Blue is a 1975 Toyota Celica.  He has seen all that his odometer can show and is starting around again.  As much as a thing can be loved, I love him. I love him because he reminds me of who I am and where I have been.

    I can't remember those first days too well.  I know that I found him on the new car lot in November 1974, and even then it was an economic decision that made me choose him.  I could not afford the top of the line, and was proud of the polished blue with the white racing stripe.  I always wanted a sports car.  Air conditioning and an eight track tape player were last minute additions, and neither one worked right or lasted.  I didn't care, I had wheels, and Blue gave me a new sense of freedom.  As I think about it now maybe it was Blue that caused me to want to roam from my marriage.  I remember dates with my baby.  Brooke was only two then, and we would buy a milkshake with two straws and drive to a quiet place and park and sit on Blue and watch the sky or listen to the wind.  I began to know love in new ways with Brooke, sometimes euphoric, sometimes responsible. Something about that love drove me to search for more, not quiet peaceful love, but deeply felt emotional love.  Blue watched and was there through it all.

    There must have been much that happened, but Janie came next to teach me and with her I found new beginnings in that emotional love. Life was full.  I know  that I was foolish and gave little thought to any kind of consequences, but I had tasted something that was alive, and life was all that mattered.  Honestly, even when I think back to other times, they are only memories of events.  I know nothing before this discovery of love from Brooke and Janie.  My emotions became alive.  Thoughts poured from mind onto paper.  That old eight track tape played songs of Michael Murphy, Seals and Croft, Jefferson Airplane and Joni Mitchell.  I had never heard music before.  Life jumped at me and I wanted more.  Blue took me to Galveston, and Dallas, and Houston and Colorado.  Often as we drove, Blue and the music would take me to Big Bend or to the Rockies or past the mountains to more unknown places.  And even the common became exotic. Sometimes freedom is being able to go to a distant place and choosing to find a nearby grassy meadow.  I was free unfettered independent unrestricted uncontrolled unencumbered unconstrained liberated emancipated free.  But free means having to choose, to make choices. This was all so new and came upon me so fast that I could never have understood.  In choosing Janie, I chose to give up Brooke.  I chose divorce and pain and loss.  In a way that many will never understand, I chose innocently and ignorantly and rightly.  The unexpected gift of my choosing was Life.  Not life with a small l, but Life with a Capital L.  Even LIFE in all capital letters.  On Blue's second birthday, I was born with a new LIFE.

    Just one month prior to that birth, I was working at Texas Instruments as a Manufacturing Supervisor.  Working many hours and in much turmoil which was mostly my own making.  After I was abruptly informed by my supervisor that I would report to third shift the next evening and should go home and sleep, I decided to visit a former employer just to say hello.  Upon finding that there was an opening I took it.  What a surprise to find that when I walked out the door of Business Data Processing, Inc. Blue had already known what was happening.  Only days before I had put new license plates on him. The letters of the plates were BDP for Business Data Processing.  For me, it was a clear sign from God.

    Now as a new Christian and with a new job, I asked Janie to marry me.  The scripture became alive to me, If any man be in Christ he is a new creature, the old things are passed away, Behold all things are become new. I wanted to shout.  Behold all things are new.  That became a prayer, and each word needed its own emphasis and could be said again and again with new meaning each time.  BEHOLD!  Behold ALL! Behold all THINGS!  I am NEW! Confusion dissipated.

    When Janie and I married.  Blue was painted with white shoe polish. He was as beautiful as my new wife, and made a clear sign for the world to see that I loved her.  He was as much the Best Man as the one who stood before the preacher with me.  Blue was the only one who knew where we would spend our first night together, and as Janie and I flew to Mexico together Blue continued to speak my love for her in the parking lot of the Lubbock Airport.  As that Texas sun beat down on the shoe polish covering him, the words became permanently enscribed in the bright blue paint, and for years after "Just Married", and "John loves Janie" remained bleached into Blue as a reminder to me.

    Each week we traveled to Church in Hale Center.  Not a long way, only 30 miles, but several times a week and in the solitude, God came to me time and time again.  On longer trips and shorter ones I would reach for the radio control, and before even touching it, my hand would fall back.  No.  I do not want music now.  Touch me Lord, make me know you, speak life to me.

    Time went on.  The air conditioner ceased working. I didn't bother to fix it.  It never truly worked well anyway.  The tape player went out, time for new tires, scratches on the doors, a large dent from a Semi Truck, many small dents from various hale storms.  A friend wanted to fix the radio antenna and in doing so disconnected it altogether, no radio.  The fan does not work for the defroster, the headlights go out without warning, but Blue remains faithful, never requiring more than an oil change or periodic tune up.

    I began saving for a new car, after all Blue was already seven years old, there couldn't be too much left in him.  But there were always people needs that took precedence over car needs.  One day the Lord led me to give the car savings to a family in need.  I only asked if He wouldn't give Blue more time until I could afford one to take his place.  Then there was another family and then another

     He is old and less beautiful now.  At least many people tell me that he is, even several who have received the money that would have afforded me more modern transportation.  It's all right.  They don't know, and don't need to understand.

    I admit, I often go to look over the new cars.  I even take Blue with me.  He hasn't shown any jealousy.  I know that I could never trade him in. But one day he will just break down.  Last month the state of Texas sent me a notice to buy new license plates.  They made a law that plates can only be used for 5 years.  It was rather tramatic to remove the ones that Blue had worn for so long with BDP. I even wondered, maybe superstitiously, that removing the plates was somehow prophetic in the same way that they spoke to me 12 years ago when I first noticed them in front of Business Data Processing. Well, those plates hang in the garage as a reminder of what has past, and Blue stands there too, still faithfully driving across town and back with never a trouble or a complaint.

    It has not been for me only.  Unselfishly he carries anyone in need of transportation.  Blue has carried all kinds of people, but mostly those in need, for why would anyone stoop to use Old Blue if they had any means of their own.  Sandy tells me that her friends laugh at her when she drives up to the school in Blue, and Janie won't even get in, but in love, I really don't notice his age or scars. Whether helping sinners or saints, Blue has worked to further God's eternal purpose, and always without complaint.

    Last year Blue turned 100,000 miles.  I was thinking of trading him then.  Instead, I washed and perfumed him, bought new seat covers and steering wheel cover, changed the oil.  He became new again, and I remembered, Behold all things are become new.  It never ceases. The new is not new only at the beginning, all is renewing into newness, there is never again old in the same way.

    Last week as Blue was parked outside a friends office, someone rammed the door.  I really wasn't too upset even though the door doesn't open well, and makes a terrible creak when it opens.  He left his card.  When I found him we discussed the accident and the man said that the panel was badly rusted and should be greatly depreciated.  I looked and it was badly rusted, but couldn't help but think that Blue should be greatly appreciated, not depreciated.  That is why I had to write this testimonial.  I know there is much that I have left out, but through Blue I have learned that "All things work together for good, for those who love God, and who are called according to His purpose." I know that Blue is just a thing.  That I have supplied him with characteristics that could never be his, and that I have spoken teleologically for him, but again I say Blue has been used of God as a mile stone or a marker to remind me where I have come from and who I am.  His simple plainness and dull shine are the way that I must look to many, but also like me Blue has gone many miles and our journey has been an experience of discovering grace. Now we take one mile at a time, not being anxious for the end of the journey, but enjoying each step along the way knowing that it could be the last one.  The first could have been the last also, we just didn't have the experience to understand that then.

    Praise you, Father, and thank You for your provision and care of me through such a foolish thing as an old blue automobile and through such a wonder as my Lord Jesus Christ.  

I give You Thanks.