Saturday, December 10, 2011

A Balance Between Responsible and Fun

Pardon the deviation, but I had kind of a micro-epiphany last night during my prayers.

Lately, I've been looking for a winter project.  A few years ago I drove a 1952 Ford Customline sedan and really enjoyed it, but as is my habit with such things, I dug in my heels, hemmed and hawed, and by the time I decided I'd buy it, it was gone.

I've discovered my fatal flaw in that plan (and many of the others I've hatched to buy cars).  I am, at my core, a responsible guy.  The Ford was a discretionary expenditure, a fun purchase with no practical reason to recommend it.

My current interest is in a contemporary of that old Ford.  1949-1952 Dodges and Plymouths are at their bottom dollar right now, the nexus of their depreciation.  They were functional cars of their time, but none too attractive or elegantly designed, unlike the Fords, Chevrolets, and Studebakers of the day.  Because they're not terribly desirable, those old Dodges and Plymouths are an affordable, easy way to get into vintage motoring.  Parts are plentiful, there are a total of, like, three moving pieces in the whole car so repairs are simple and cheap, and even though they aren't as pretty as some of their competitors, they still have loads of that vintage charm.

I found the one.  It's in good shape, a full-time Arizona car so it's very rust-free, and it runs well.  It has the bigger six-cylinder motor and a manual transmission, and all ancillaries work as they should.  The price is at the low end of the scale for its condition and the seller is motivated.  By all accounts, it's the perfect winter project, a cheap initial investment in an easy job requiring a little paint and some body work, but with a huge payoff in the end.

I was praying last night and I asked the Lord to help me with my decision.  I said that I wanted a cool old car and that I needed to know if it was a good choice to sink that kind of money into something like that. I reminded myself that men are that they might have joy, and while a car won't bring lasting, real joy, it still makes life a little more fun.  And I told the Lord that cars are a hobby I really enjoy. I justified the potential spending, saying that I'm young and making irrational purchases like this will be much harder if a family ever enters the picture, and so I should get one now while I can, and maybe sell it if I need the cash later.

Then, I made something of a discovery. I quickly changed my prayer to something that went like, "Help me buy a car if it's right, and if it's wrong, help me not want to buy a car."  I realized that, while I do love my vintage classics, perhaps my flaw isn't in hesitating to buy one, it's in wrapping myself up in wanting one in the first place.

Really, that's the core of almost every problem, isn't it?

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