Corolla

Dear 24-year Old Sir,

Last time we met I learned a lot about who you were – thank you for that!

And last night I learned more about who you want to be, although your biggest concerns right now is the fact that your girlfriend is about to give birth any day now (so glad she had a nice time in Macon with her friends and family at her baby shower!) and the fact that you were turned away when you attempted to get your weekly food stamps so you can feed your growing family (apparently the government shut down fucked that up too, sheesh).

corolla

But you attitude is so positive and your perspective is so uplifting that it really makes me reconsider my own state and position considerably – you have a better attitude about life and your situation than most people although you may not even recognize it.

And I’m so thankful that I could sell you my car. I had no intention of selling it to you as I had tons of offers on it already but you fit the bill perfectly and USAA will take great care of you in terms of your insurance, payments, and other such stuff. I, like you, have been well-taken care of by them in the past and they won’t let you down.

Giving you a deal on it was not a problem and I’m happier for it; I think you’re the right person for it and that’s about it. Sure, not the most prudent decision financially perhaps but I believe it was an important one. You see, you’ve gotten something very special with that little Toyota as it’s a living example of how God can turn lemons into lemonade.

Day #1. The attic is right above the garage there.

You remarked last night that I seem to be a “religious guy” – I’m not sure how you would have come up with that since I cannot recall one instance where I said anything hyper-religious as I tend to avoid anything like that to begin with but whatever it was that signaled to you that reality was encouraging. As I told you I simply believe that God has a plan for all of our lives and that those plans are good ones. That’s it. My so-called theology isn’t very practical at times and can be, at times, pretty darn shallow but it always seems to make sense with the simplest of truths. I’ve been focusing more on those simple things as life progresses.

Needless to say, I hope that you remember that truth every time you sit behind the wheel of my old Toyota because here are the facts: I was once your age and was once just as confused as you were. 7 years ago I found myself living in my parent’s house (their attic above the garage) with a pregnant wife after having been fired from yet another job. Although I had spent years in software development I made the incredibly-stupid decision of trying my hand at something dramatically different.

In short it was a really shitty idea born out of terrible career advice and a culture that had suggested that I become more “well-rounded.” I took the bait, hook, line, and sinker and failed miserably at it.

Destitute I moved my very pregnant wife back into my parent’s home and tried to re-assemble my dignity and my career that had taken a serious nose-dive. Luckily people (and the market) still needed decent websites from a freelance developer and I started advertising on Craigslist for work.

A week later (and a lot of sleepless nights) I found myself “gainfully” busy (but not necessarily employed) and was able to secure a few projects that helped put me financially back on track (somewhat). At the same time I also moonlit at the local Starbucks in a vain attempt to get health insurance for the upcoming financial needs and medical coverage for a young child. I was borrowing a car, just like you, to get to the place that was way too far to be worth it while working at nights on client projects while working on my Master’s degree (which eventually became a double-masters) while applying to full-time technology jobs that had much more stability.

By the grace of God I got one, a lucky break at a Fortune technology company, in a very coveted role as an enterprise engineer. I didn’t deserve it but they needed the help and they were going to pay me a lot. I took my wife to Target that day to buy some socks – then I went and bought that car nearly emptying my entire bank account to do it. The feeling was palpable and I’ll never forget bringing it home, walking up to the attic, and getting on my knees thanking God for his mercy and grace in my life. He still does this, by the way, even today as He’s constantly at work making sure that I don’t screw up everything that comes my way.

And so that’s the story behind that car that you now drive, the 2006 Toyota Corolla. It’s seen some things, that’s for sure, and giving it to you was more than just a financial decision – it was an emotional one and every time you sit behind that wheel remember that God has a plan for your life and it’s a good one. Never, ever, forget.

I’ll see you soon,

John

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