Saturday, June 4, 2011


It was going to take $2200 and 9 days to fix the car. So we sold it. For $100 dollars. I cried. And Braeden tried really hard not to cry and held it together amazingly well. We had been planning on selling the car when we got back to Iowa anyway, so we had the title with us, luckily, I suppose. We were supposed to be back in Iowa City by Tuesday night for school and work but now it was Wednesday afternoon and there was just no time. We signed the papers, cleared out the car, and drove off.

People talk a lot about how you have to withstand trials to really solidify your love. I think that's silly. I mean, I suppose that sometimes it's true, but I don't feel like our love is any stronger for having had to figure this whole thing out, I feel like it's the same as it was before—awesome—but now we have a story to tell people about how we sold our car for 100 bucks in Cheyenne on our way back from our wedding reception.

It was interesting to get different people's reactions to our situation both as it was taking place as after it had happened. Braeden's parents were super concerned and wanted to be updated about our different choices and options and said they would help however they could, if just through prayers on our behalf. I updated my parents because I felt like I should, not because they asked to be, and they just said things like, "Sometimes you get the trip, and sometimes you get the story. You got the story!" Or "I guess now you'll make sure you get your oil changed more regularly!" Neither of these things were all that helpful. I suppose they were just trying to be optimistic and light-hearted about the whole thing, but what I really needed was some sympathy.

My friend Jen Porter once sent me an email about her musings on bearing witness. I feel like what she had to say was particularly pertinent for this experience. I'll quote her:

I don’t need someone to take my experience away.  I don’t need my load lifted, changed, or taken off.  But I have been through this experience.  I have been pushed continuously to my limits more than I thought was possible.  And I survived.  I have learned and am learning so much about who I am, how I fit into the world.  My mind is overburdened with thoughts and with insights that my brow is constantly furrowed. 

I need someone to bear witness to my experience.  I need someone to listen, to acknowledge the fact that I have experienced this thing.

We are so tempted to be fixers.  To take away, change, lift, or carry.  But, in fact, we are not asked to do that.  We are simply asked to comfort.  To mourn alongside.  And by so doing to bear one another’s burdens.

So at the close of this post, that is all I ask. Just bear witness to this thing that we have experienced. Was it the worst thing that could have happened? No, of course not. Things could have been much, much worse. But the fact of the matter is that it was stressful. Incredibly stressful. We didn't know if we would be stranded in Wyoming for a week and a half with no way to get back home. We didn't know if our car would be fixable or sell-able or what exactly we should do. But we figured it out and we made our choices and we are finally home. I'm sure this will be a "funny story to tell our grandkids years from now" but for now it is still a bit tender and close to the heart. So please, for now, just bear witness.

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