What I learned from my little green car


I used to have a little green MG Midget. I loved it. It was in the days when I was a school teacher and the first time my husband and I became a two car family. We lived equidistant from the schools we both taught at which were in opposite directions. His route to school was on a motorway, mine was through villages, roundabouts and junctions.

The car was old and was ailing and not very user friendly. The catch to release the bonnet was behind the front wheel. Occasionally, the engine would cut out (like at traffic lights) and I would have to jump out of the car, crouch down and grope for the bonnet catch under the front wheel, lift the bonnet and while holding up the bonnet with one hand hit some part of the engine with a hammer (I had no idea what I was hitting – I just knew where I had to hit), then slam down the bonnet, jump back in the car and hey presto it would start. All this had to be accomplished before the lights changed to green. I became something of a regular sight and I swear some people timed their journeys so they could witness the fiasco.

The problems increased. It wouldn’t start in the morning so my husband would push me down the incline where we lived so I could jump start it. Sometimes he wouldn’t be there so I would have to push it with one hand (it was a really small car!) holding open the driver’s door, then as it picked up speed, jump into it with my left leg outstretched so it would slide under the dashboard. Of course if I hadn’t judged it correctly the car would have taken off without me in it. I must have been crazy!

The final straw was when I realised that if I stopped, for any reason at all (red lights, roundabouts, junctions, child in the road) the car would die. So one morning I had to drive all the way to school without stopping. This meant approaching traffic lights on red, really really slowly so by the time I reached them they would be on green. It meant driving up to roundabouts at a crawl and hoping against hope that there would be nothing coming because I WAS going to turn onto the roundabout. I’m not quite sure now (this was 40 years ago) why I was so foolhardy, not to say downright irresponsible…

But I did learn some valuable lessons from my travels with that little car.

  1. We all need a push sometimes to get going. Sometimes it’s a push because we have just run out of energy. Sometimes it’s because we are at a cross roads and we just need a push in the right direction. Or we just need to take a deep breath and just move ourselves knowing we’ll be fine once we start.
  2. Sometimes we need a quick, sharp action to get us back on track. This can be someone letting us know we’ve been unkind. Or telling us a home truth that is difficult to hear. Or it might be that when we are feeling smug with ourselves about how well we have dealt with something we suddenly get a slap in the face from the Universe (yes I know the Universe is kind but you get what I mean) with the message ‘OK then – let’s just check that you really are as developed as you think you are’
  3. Sometimes we just have to keep going – slowly, surely, step by step. We know if we stop we’ll never start again but it’s so hard going so slowly. The spiritual path isn’t all candles and incense. Sometimes we just have to plod on and not give up.

Finally, my little green car had to go and there was the last lesson. When things no longer serve your progess, let them go.