by Erez Batat
I felt a pinch in my heart knowing this was the last time we would be together. I will never see her again; never be able to experience her intensity, the sheer power and fierce presence she fervently presents. She’s a beauty. An older gal, no doubt, but I love her nonetheless. And now, she will be loved by another man.
Get a grip, man… I say to myself as I pull up in front of the credit union. It’s just a freakin’ truck.
Her soon to be owner was already waiting for me, eagerly scanning her body with coveting stares. Will he take good care of her, I wondered? I studied him in retaliation. Will he know how to handle her quirks, her moody temper? He’s a short guy, even shorter than I am. Can he handle her? She is a huge beast, this truck of mine, equipped with a massive engine and a proportionally loud roar which always notified my dog upon my arrival from half a mile away. This guy is a lawyer, newly wed with a child. Why the hell does he need such a truck?
The flickering judgment quickly dissipated and I smiled, realizing my own reflected truth. This truck was too big for me, too. At 135 pounds, my boney, slim physique was barely a match for this enormous machine. Hell, I needed a pillow just to be comfortable sitting behind the wheel. These trucks are built for huge American guys, not for skinny-ass Middle-Eastern men like myself. I never cared about that, though. I loved driving it, and pledged to never let go as I carefully maneuvered it through the streets, basking in the sheltering comfort of her armored, colossal body.
God, I love this truck.
But my wife, Diane, and I have been Lightning-Our-Load, and the fact that I’ve barely used the truck in the last couple of years was too deafening to ignore. The idea was mine. Even if Diane thought about it, she didn’t dare mention it. She knew how much it meant to me. During the past year we committed to shed all physical belongings which were weighing on our souls, an act that opened up a Pandora’s box full of harsh insights about our way of life. The mere mindfulness of our commitment led us to see how much time and effort we spent in buying, selling, cleaning and maintaining possessions we did not really need. It truly shook us to our core. More astonishing was to notice how much it all chewed on our spirit.
Case in point – three cars means three registrations, smog tests, maintenance, repair, cleaning and insurance. The absurdity of it all surfaced to my conscious awareness as I decided to take the 2 Ton monster to Costco out of sheer guilt, just to get her warmed up a bit and stretch her legs. The bags of rice, onions and chips never looks so small in the huge, empty pickup bed. I sighed as I realized it was, yet again, time to change the oil on the old girl. Is this how I want to spend my life? I am a slave to my belongings, bound in chains to the taxing demands of material, gluttonous living.
But like all addictions, try to escape and you’ll discover a brick wall of pain hiding behind every door. You can check out any time you like – but you can never leave, the song rang through my head. Simply because the humbling truth is –
It’s not just a truck.
It’s a symbol, a reflection of a distortion in my psyche. The truck made me feel strong, powerful, capable and protected. I can now go anywhere, I thought. Conquer any terrain with its massive wheels. It will carry anything I will mindlessly throw on its sturdy back. I NEEDED a big truck. Not because of what I hauled, or where I took it but because it artificially completed something I lacked, what I desired to see in myself, waiting patiently as a humble servant until I realized the scary, naked yet liberating truth – I will never find what I lack outside of myself.
The new buyer’s wife came with him, holding a cradle with their baby girl. “I don’t understand why you need such a big truck,” she groaned, as she reluctantly co-signed the loan papers. He didn’t answer, and gave me an embarrassed look. I replied with a comforting smile. I get it brother, I thought. I get it. It will serve you well. For the first time since I decided to sell it, I felt better about letting go. Like me, he needed her. She will continue to do her magic, allowing him to love her, to admire her strength and magnitude until he finds his own.
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