When we moved from Oregon to Pennsylvania two years ago, we came with only one car. We left behind the beloved yet too-old-to move 1988 Camry. (Actually, it wasn't beloved by me, but it was a good car, and paid for and all that, but pretty worn out and not worth moving.) We figured we'd try to live with one vehicle for a while. Maybe a couple months, no more than that.
After about a year we figured we'd had enough of the one-car life. Here in the suburbs, and without good public transportation, it's just hard. There are very few useful places we can walk: the post office, car repair shop (and that's a very good thing), a crummy yet overpriced grocery store and a deli. Oh, and a Mexican restaurant we've been to just once.
So we started looking for a car but nothing really turned up. Oh, we'd have opportunities now and then, but it never worked out. We didn't want to buy in a panic and make a mistake, so we tried to be patient. Of course we prayed about a car, and for patience till we found a good one. But it was getting pretty tiresome. I'd have to drive the seminarian to school most days, then go back and pick him up. We had to coordinate every activity carefully to be sure we could get everyone there and back again on time. We had to skip some things we'd like to have done because we just couldn't make it work. And, perhaps worst of all, we had to bum rides from people.
Two years went by and I alternated between hating my one-car life and loving it. Sometimes it was nice to send the seminarian off to school and be housebound; it took away the temptation to go out unnecessarily. But then there were those times when someone had to be disappointed because transportation just wasn't available.
Two weeks ago another opportunity came up. We tried not to get too excited about it, but it sounded pretty good. We were given the chance to drive the car for a couple of days and have our mechanic check it out. It was very cheap, because the owners believed that the car needed a lot of work. When the mechanic's report showed that the car needed only minor (and inexpensive!), we were able to seal the deal. And now we have another car!
It hasn't even been two weeks but I can feel that a huge burden has been listed off my shoulders. We don't have to choreograph every move we make. We don't have to bum rides and we can drop off and pick up one child from an activity without having to worry about leaving the other kid stranded at another activity somewhere else. (As in soccer practice on Monday nights, same time, different fields.)
This is one of those times when I can truly say that God cares about His people. In the big picture of life, there are many, many things worse than being a one-car family. He kept us going through the difficult times. We figure those deals that fell through were protection against future car troubles. (Of course we don't know that, but, looking back, we can see that.) This car we waited for was cheap, oh so cheap. A gift, really. And that's how we are looking at it.