Yesterday I spent about $287.00 on my Honda Odyssey. Don’t get me wrong, I love my van. I never thought I’d say that, but it’s true! I like it way better than the ’03 Ford Explorer XLT that I had previously. The only vehicle that still holds a place on my list of vehicle love is my very first – ’86 Toyota Tercel straight drive. The CD player was worth more than the car itself. Ahhhhhh… oh! Where was I? Oh yeah!
I love my van. The problem is that it doesn’t repair itself. I have to change the oil, replace the brakes, tires, change the transmission fluid, seemingly ad infinitum. If I didn’t do these things, the vehicle would run well for a while, but eventually things will begin to break, which cause other things to break, and before long I no longer have a vehicle but something more akin to hell-on-wheels. One has to maintain their vehicle if they want it to function properly and for any length of time.
By now I’m sure you see it and I don’t have to spell it out for you. Already you’ve reasoned, “The title is ‘Relationships are like Vehicles’ so just replace every instance of ‘vehicle’ with ‘relationship’ and voila!” Well, it’s not quite like that but let’s run with it for a bit. We all know that relationships require maintenance and yet we fail at this exact point. Such a simple illustration to make a point that anyone in a meaningful relationship already knows, yet we skip out on our relational “oil changes” and “tune ups.” Why? For the same reason we neglect our vehicles. We don’t value them as we should. We like the convenience of a vehicle that works, just as we like the convenience of a meaningful relationship for what it provides us. All too often we don’t like the responsibility that comes with that meaningful relationship.
But there is also a deeper facet of relationships. Although they are like vehicles we must remember they are not vehicles. We can drop a car off at the shop, pay $287.00 and have it “fixed”. Relationships are not kept in order by just heartlessly buying a dozen roses or a box of chocolates on Valentine’s Day as if it were some sort of yearly tune up. If you’re not pouring yourself into your relationships then these yearly gifts will just highlight your year long failures. People aren’t parts. We are made of something deeper, something that can’t be reproduced or bottled. Something inside of us that longs for things such as relationships, love, justice, peace, and all those intangible necessities to life.
So I guess what I’m trying to say is relationships are like vehicles, but they’re not.