I fixated on the number at the bottom of the column and froze. The service advisor was still talking about the lack of good help around the shop, but I couldn’t even hear him.
That number, that total, was the bill for the repairs completed on my car. His little laser jet printer had just casually spit the paperwork out as if that number WASN’T one quarter of the total value of my car.
“Okay, so did they discuss the estimate with you when you scheduled the repairs?”
His words made their way through the mud bog of my brain and I found some of my own.
“They did. The ‘estimate’ was that these repairs would be entirely covered by my factory powertrain warranty. If that isn’t the case, then the new ‘estimate’ is that the headlines on tonight’s news are gonna read something like this: Customer Dies of Heart Attack at car dealership. Kills service advisor on her way to the floor.”
He chuckled nervously and typed a few commands into his computer.
“Okay. I can see that it’s warranty work.” He reached for the stack of paperwork and in one efficient move, crumpled it and tossed it behind him into a waste bin.
Just like that. Twenty-four hundred dollars, an insurmountable and heinous amount, reduced and recycled.
My hands were still shaking. Adrenaline overload left a metallic taste at the back of my throat. Already stretched on the rack of colossal new medical bills, already in bankruptcy, there was simply no way that I was prepared to handle a repair bill of that enormity.
* * *
Later that evening (which was last night, as a matter of fact), I sat with my book. Nestled under blankets, snuggled into my bed with a cup of tea and the warmth of my sweet dog beside me, I exhaled. Somehow, in the morass of the last twelve months, I’ve come home to myself.
It’s not a linear journey. It’s recognition at its finest and softest. I’m not broken. Like my car, there are places in need of repair, maintenance, support and care. Just as I did when I made the decision to purchase this particular car, I have invested in a warranty for myself. A surety. A guarantee.
Storms will rage, the unpredictable will occur and there will be moments of pure terror: shaking hands, racing heart and near-debilitating freeze-up. The anchor that holds me is one I’ve constructed in the solitude, the stillness, the silence of my own space. I’ve done the work, I’ve already paid the price and I’ve let myself off the ‘hook’ of being attached.
It’s ongoing work, just like my car payments to the bank.
Today, I’m banking gratitude. I’m sourcing my own happiness.