It was a beautiful car. And it was fast.

Up to that point, my luck had been good getting upgrades on rental cars. But this one topped them all. Instead of the intermediate-sized car on hold for me, I ended up driving a sweet, black, 2017 convertible Mustang off the lot. Don’t ask me how I got it. It still makes little sense. But I was ecstatic!

It would take a tad over two glorious hours to arrive at my destination. The highway between Sacramento and Redding is wide open, cutting through endless fields and orchards, dotted occasionally by shopping centers, bridges, abandoned buildings and dairy farms. I couldn’t wait to get started.

Easing out of the rental agency, I settled into the leather seats, turned up the music and shot up the interstate.

Feeling lighthearted and free, I laughed as I wove in and out of traffic, effortlessy overtaking slower vehicles.

I was still chuckling about my good fortune, when I caught up to a semi-truck with the word “SWIFT” boldly printed on the trailer. This made me laugh even more.

Swift? You? No, I’m swift!

As I sped by, I noticed SWIFT was the name of a transportation company. The semi was loaded down with someone else’s stuff.

It then struck me there was a spiritual lesson I could learn from my rental car and that truck.

Semi-trucks are for hauling freight. Cars are for transporting people.

Much of my life I spent like that truck, hauling too much stuff, some that wasn’t even mine. None of which God intended me to carry.

Baggage like shame, fear, unforgiveness, despair, woundedness. This cargo became my focus, crowding out room for people. Feeling heavy-laden and slow, my relationships turned transactional and functional. Like the truck, my exterior appeared stalwart and strong. Inside, however, loneliness echoed. The law makes life feel like that.

In contrast, the Mustang felt like grace. Built with freedom in mind and room to share, it was open and agile. Equipped to handle curves and hills with the same ease as the straightaway, it could readily adapt to its environment. It was anything but functional. It was FUNctional. There was space in the trunk for just enough cargo to meet needs but not interfere with the experience. And it had room for other travelers.

The reason I was on that trip was to visit my parents. My mom is in her 70s and my dad, his 80s. When they saw me drive up in the car, they laughed out loud and immediately wanted to go for a spin. With the soft top down. I can’t remember the last time I saw them have that much fun. Together we formed enduring memories.

Now, whenever I’m on the road, I am reminded of the Grace I’ve received that offers to carry my baggage so I will have room for others. On this journey toward Home, we are meant to travel together and travel light.

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.” –Hebrews 12:1-2


Tamara Carpenter is part of Newsong’s Board. You can read more of her writing on her blog: tamaracarpenter.com