Friday, March 21, 2014

The One About The Van

If you read Brad's blog, or get his email updates regarding his cancer journey, you'll know that imminent bankruptcy has been added to the mix of stressors in our house.  But this post is not about stressors - it's about God, and His creativity.

February 11, driving home from the psychologist, I rear-ended someone in the van we'd bought a year and a half ago.  While I am often multi-tasking while driving - this time, I wasn't.  I shoulder-checked and looked in front of me and the truck in front of me had come to a complete stop.  As the roads were dry, and there was at least a car-length between us, I wasn't worried about stopping in time - only I didn't.  I slammed on my brakes but still hit him hard enough to knock his spare off wherever it was lurking underneath.  Air bags went off, smoke billowed from the hood - the van was still running, but when I pulled over to the shoulder, it bled green fluid all over the snow.

And for one reason or another, delay after delay, it took the insurance company three weeks to call it - totalled.  As we owed more money on the van than it was worth, this was a significantly low point, especially for me.  I cried all day, off and on, and had wailed conversations with my husband that included phrases like "I'm no asset here.  I'm  a liability."

The next morning, "coincidentally" a morning in which my husband prayed, rather desperately, for "some small shaft of light", we heard from our insurance company that our policy carried a 30 month waiver of depreciation on it.  In case those words mean nothing to you - the insurance payout will be for the undepreciated value, ie, what the bill of sale says we paid for it.  "You mean you guys just drove it for free for a year and a half?"  A asked, and essentially, yes, that's what happened.

We are in the middle of working out how to live more reasonably within our means.  It's been tricky, in our relationship - one of the impacts of my unknown-to-me history has been frankly being unequipped to partner with Brad in any reasonable manner when it came to money.  But I'm healing, and he's learning some things, too, and I think we're going to do great.  In the meantime - we had a choice.  We could have gotten another brand new van, and tried to keep up the hefty monthly payments.  We could have spent the entire insurance settlement on a used van.  We were praying for wisdom, and waiting to hear what the settlement amount would be, when my brother called.  My brother has a few super-powers, and one of those is finding good quality used vehicles. 

"So there's a few options", he said.  "I could look around for you, or - I was thinking of getting a new van, and then you guys could have my old one."

"How much do you want for it?" I asked.

"No", he said "you guys could HAVE it."

Long pause.  I finally said "I don't know what to say."

"Yeah, I know", he replied.  "Let it process and call me back."

So now there's a hefty monthly payment we no longer have to make, our vehicle insurance went way down, and instead of a shiny red 2012 Sienna in our driveway, there's a 2005 Caravan.

And every time I look out my window, I am reminded that we are loved.