Finding forgiveness after a "hit & run"
I love my car. It has been good to me. I bought it in 2008 and I've considered upgrading it several times but I can never bring myself to do it. I just love my car too much. I've done plenty of long, memorable trips in this car. I've driven… From Adelaide to Sydney for my wedding (and back again)... From Adelaide to Hobart (across the sea on the ship!)… All around Tassie when I lived there in 2009/10… From Tassie to Queensland where I now live (via Adelaide, yeah that was EPIC) And from here on the Gold Coast down to Sydney and back a handful of times.
I'm so happy with this car. But the sort of attachment that I have to it is dangerous. If anything ever goes wrong with it, I will be crushed.
It's a bit like the hiking boots that I got for a crazy reduced price on sale years ago. The retail price was over $200, but I got them for $35!
I got them in my size, which is a miracle in itself because most brands don't make hiking boots to fit feet as small as mine!
And since then, they've served me well, but… now I'm precious about them.
I don't want to wear them if there's a chance they'll get muddy, and even though they're old, I can't bear to get rid of them because they're a symbol of triumph and bargains!
Similarly, with my car, my heart gets heavy if something goes wrong with it. I overreact. Like that time the zip on my beloved Jag wallet broke and I painstakingly repaired it because I refused to let it go. (and, yeah, I still have it in a draw somewhere)
I'm not normally a "stuff" person, but sometimes I get bizarrely attached to things that have become dear to me, and my car is one of those things…
So, I was sitting in a cafe one day recently, drinking a smoothie, when my husband goes to my car to grab something for our daughter, but, he doesn't come back….
I see him outside talking to a woman, who's pointing and chattering. I later learn that this woman witnessed someone hitting my car and driving away. They're trying to find her but she's gone.
As I spoke to the witness, she told me that the girl who scratched my car got out of her car to assess the damage before deciding to run away without owning up to her mistake.
She's gone, and my car, is scratched.
It's not that bad.
Not bad enough to bother with an insurance claim, but just bad enough for me to sink into a moment of depression. I stopped chatting to the friends that I was with and started spiralling into sadness, despair, frustration and rage. My mind was busy...
Why has this happened to me?
It's not worth paying to fix this. I couldn't afford it anyway.
This is devastating. Life Sux.
That bitch has done this to me without even taking responsibility for her actions.
She knew that she'd damaged my car, but she just ran away like a fucking coward.
I had to let my mind go to this place before I could even contemplate forgiveness.
My natural reaction, although not particularly helpful, was valid and worthy of a few minutes of brain-space.
I knew that forgiveness had to come next, but every time that I tried to find compassion for this girl, I just became angry. I needed more time.
This was one of those rare situations where a distraction was welcome. I watched my precious daughter as she dozed off to sleep in her car seat and chatted to my husband about the future. I allowed myself to come back to my home base, peaceful calm set point. I took a deep breath.
Now I could forgive her.
I remembered what is was like to be a 19 year old who was still new to driving.
I thought back over all of the mistakes that I've made in my life (and still continue to make!) I have never caused a car accident, but I know what it's like to do the wrong thing and wish it never happened.
I empathised with my inner teenager, who had no problem lying about where she'd been, what she'd been doing and what drugs she'd been taking.
I knew that her rebellious presence was still strong within me. I knew that I could find compassion for myself, and that I could extend that compassion to the young girl who hit my car.
I don't know if that girl feels remorseful, or if she feels happy that she got away with it.
I don't know whether she lied to her parents about what happened to her car, or whether she even gives a crap about what happened.
I will never know, but I'm willing to let it go.
I say the same words to her that I've said to myself many times over...
I forgive you, I love you.
Who do you need to forgive?