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Riding a red bullet into the New Year

I’m riding into the New Year in a faded-red Bullet. That’s what we christened our recently purchased 1988 Chevy Sprint.

Under the miniature hood purrs a three cylinder, 1.0 liter engine with just 54,000 km on it.

The 46 horsepower it generates whisks us from zero to 100 km/h in four – maybe five – minutes, depending on the headwind and number of occupants sardined within.

Twelve 100 dollar bills made me the humble owner and as quick as you can read the Old Testament, its 12-inch tires spun me onto the highway and up to 85 km/h.

A CD slid smoothly into the stereo and soon had me humming, “It was an itsy bitsy teeny weeny…” Anxious drivers rocketed by me at the warp-speed, 100 km/hr. At least they were friendly, waving their middle fingers in my direction.

The Bullet elicited enthusiastic comments from our kids: “Dad, that’s really ugly” and “I hope you didn’t pay much money for it.”

Despite their jaded reception, the tomato-mobile has kind of grown on me. In fact, each time I fold myself into it, I receive portable insight into how I want to live in 2011.

I want to slow down. Puttering along the highway of life can be a rapturous journey. Though society seems addicted to the adrenalin rush of activity, we can choose to ease off on the gas pedal. Driving the Bullet reminds me that life is best absorbed at slower speeds. Conversations are deeper. Pondering mysteries of life becomes the norm. Problems are solved before causing chaos.

My 23-year old dream machine also challenges me to get back to the basics of living. Asking the previous owner about options generated a chuckle, and the response: “Besides the stereo, this baby has no options. But if you want reliability, this bud’s for you.”

The limited clicks on the odometer compensate for the lack of extras in the rest of the car. Actually, my car is not entirely without options; it does have intermittent wipers, and the gentleman kindly included two plastic cup holders that attach to the windows.

Our world beckons me to invest in the pursuit of options: high-end furniture, larger house (and mortgage), gourmet edibles, faster computers …

Reliability, however, is more to be prized.

I want to be faithful to my family, consistent in my pursuit of relationship with God and a dependable employee.

In this sense, the Sprint challenges me to continue to humble myself. Others pass me in their “modern” early-90s vehicles equipped with enviable features like power steering and hazard lights.

Watching them disappear on the distant horizon gives me ample opportunity to meditate upon Jesus’ invitation to pursue humility.

My natural tendency is to strive for elevation of self. Springing from insecurity and pride, this emotional deficiency threatens my soul and must be kept in check. Navigating the streets in a Flintstone-era vehicle helps accomplish this feat — and I am thankful.

This coming year is a Promise Land waiting to be experienced. I’ll meander through it slowly, relishing relationships, savouring the unexpected. And, as a constant reminder to stay true to the plan, I will steer my way in a faded-red Bullet.

Who knows, I may even beep-beep the roadrunner-like horn in your direction as I pass you filling up at the pumps.

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