One morning last year I was in a hurry leaving for work, and in backing out of the driveway I ran into the mailbox. So stupid. Mike fixed the mailbox, but my car still has a big ol' dent on the back passenger-side bumper area. Some paint is missing, and a piece of the plastic covering the headlight is chipped, and the dent is about the size of my hand- big enough to see from a ways off. Since then, every single time I get in my car, or see my car, or even talk or think about my car, I can't help but think "There's a dent. My car is messed up. Everyone can see that it's flawed. That guy driving past me knows I had an accident." I haven't gotten it fixed. I haven't even gone to have an estimate done. Back in May, a guy came up to me in a parking lot and gave me his business card, saying he could give me an estimate and fix the dent. The business card is sitting on the side of my bathtub. I keep putting it off because I know that it's going to be expensive, and it's hard to coordinate a time when we can leave the car to have it fixed. But it's a constant mindset now: My car is defective. And I'm embarrassed to drive it.
This has taught me two things. First, that afternoon when I got home, I made Mike switch sides with me in the garage so it would be much harder for me to get to the mailbox. It seems like it would be easy to avoid running into your mailbox, but I'm not the best with depth and distance perception, and when I'm in reverse and I get flustered, I tend to forget which way to turn the wheel. Not awesome. Our hope is that this way, I'll have to hit something else first, like the tree in our yard, and that will keep me from careening into the mailbox again. So far so good. But the second thing I learned is that God is capable of a kind of forgiveness I can hardly imagine, because even though I'm waaaay more dinged up than my car, there isn't a single second that passes that He thinks "That Erin is defective. I'm ashamed to call her mine." It's only through God that I can even attempt that kind of forgiveness, so big and complete that I literally forget whatever wrong was done. So my car is ganked up and ugly on one side, but even when I do get around to having it fixed, it will still serve as a reminder that I'm not really forgiving something unless I can move right past it and act like it never happened at all.