The Things We Do For Love

I was a 21-year-old cash-strapped love-smitten boy doing whatever it took to satisfy the heart of a 20-year-old gorgeous girl.

My wedding date was just weeks away and my bank account was on life support. I was still recovering from the purchase of Shannan's engagement ring three months earlier. As a college junior, I was definitely showing my juniorness when it came to planning, especially financial planning. I was winging it. I hadn't even thought about how to pay for our honeymoon. Liquid assets? You could pour what I had into a sippy cup. There were a few books on my shelf and the clothes in my closet. Not too promising.

But wait! Sitting out in the driveway was my 1965 Ford Mustang. I bought that car in 1976 with $350 of my cold hard cash. I coaxed a few more ponies out of it's 289 cubic inches and gave it a beauty treatment to match it's brawn. When it broke down, I repaired it; when I wrecked it, I fixed it. That Mustang was the first love of my life, but I sold it in a heartbeat to pay for our honeymoon.

The things we do for love ...

Three weeks ago I pulled into the driveway, tired after a few days on the road. As I walked into the house Shannan asked me, "Did you notice a dent in the car before you left?" (her `96 Impala SS). My heart sunk. A dent in the car is akin to someone running over the family dog. "No babe, there was definitely not a dent in the car." Pause ... "Well, there is now."

Those are not the words a car-guy wants to hear in a moment of fatigue. I dropped down on the spot to inspect said dent. It was there, but gratefully an insignificant dimple in a portion of the flexible rubber bumper. With a little muscle and finesse the crisis was averted. To appreciate what Shannan said next you have to understand how I have improved "her car." I have spent untold hours modifying the engine and the interior. I have painted and polished it. I have also lowered "her car" to achieve a better rake, automotive parlance for improving the car's stance (attitude). Of course this has all been a labor of love because it is after all "her car."

As we walked into the house, Shannan lovingly whispered, "I just need something I can drive."

That was it. Something inside clicked. It was not a moment of frustration, but a moment of realization (yes, I'm slow). This is the woman who has made my passion her passion. This is the woman who has hot rodded around America with her car-crazy husband. This is the grandma who drives a mid-90's classic and parks in the back forty to make sure it does not get nicked or scratched by some careless driver of a minivan. What grandma does that?! This is the woman who lets her husband take "her car" to car shows. So at that moment, somewhere between "I just need something to drive" and my next step, I was on a quest to find a car for my wife. In my mind the Impala officially went on the auction block. A few days later the first person who looked at it bought it.  

The things we do for love.

As I reflect on those two episodes of seller's remorse it is easy to think about what I have given up, but lately I'm looking at "the things we do for love" through a different set of eyes -- Shannan's. The true love of my life has been bending over backwards for me ever since I've had a little time to renew my interest in automobiles. She has put up with a 1966 Oldsmobile Cutlass sitting in her garage, and lived with a 1972 Alfa Romeo GTV project car in the driveway. She has driven two Ford Thunderbird turbo coupes (because her hubby thought they were pretty cool), and has listened to enough of his hot rod ideas to fill a car lot. As I said, she's made my passion her passion. Consequently what was going to be a one-time celebration for completing my Ph.D. has turned into an annual pilgrimage on the Hot Rod Power Tour.

The things we do for love.

Of course the sacrifice of Jesus eclipses mine and dwarfs hers. There is simply no comparison. A familiar verse gets to the heart of the matter:

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. John 3:16 ESV

A condemned world, a loving God, a rescue plan, and a sacrifice like no other . . . 

The things he did for love.

It is that love that has taken root in my heart and hers. I suppose it shows itself in many ways. Today it is on display as a 1996 Impala SS rumbles out of the driveway and down the road.