This is the day the Lord has made. (My VW TDi and living a trajectory of gratitude)

This was the Lord’s doing;
It is marvelous in our eyes.
This is the day the Lord has made;
We will rejoice and be glad in it.

Psalm 118:23-24

This morning our son, Andrew, dropped the following message in my inbox: “Happy birthday Golf.”

“Has it been 10 years?” I replied.

Turns out, yes.

– “Golf” March 3, 2012, Tuscany Italy

While the birthday of a car may not sound all that significant to most readers, the story of “Golf” (the VW Golf TDI Hatchback 4D) is a good one. Andrew ordered the ride in early 2012 – while living in Tuscany, Italy – after doing extensive research and choosing the TDi because it outperformed comparable Audi and BMW models.

Then, when Andrew left government service and moved to Tashkent with Alicia in the summer of 2015, he shipped Golf back to the USA and gifted the car to me. It was a remarkably generous thing to do and, when I picked it up at the military shipping center in Chesapeake in August, I suddenly had the first seriously cool car I had ever owned! Here is how I described it in my post later that day:

Golf has come to me via Italy, where he logged over 80,000 kilometers and visited several European countries in three years of primo turismo. He represents our son Andrew’s embracing of automobilismo – or Italian motoring – but with a German twist. Now I get to re-up my Euro-chic with a little help from a VW Golf TDi – packing more tech features than I can begin to wrap my head around.

Live like you mean it (in a Golf TDI)
– August 7, 2015: the day Golf came to America

That was almost seven years ago. In 2017 my little car fell afoul of the EPA via Volkswagen’s diesel cheating scandal, and the “fix” cost a few miles per gallon as well as a little performance. But the car is still up there with the best I have ever driven. This past weekend I posted these two photos with the caption: “Golf being Golf! 119 on the tank… 625 range remaining… 47.9mpg… (Helps when I paid $4.44 for diesel in DC this morning!)”

Of course I didn’t end up getting the promised 744 miles. The driving conditions changed once I arrived in Wake Forest. But Golf is still the most fun I have had driving since I had to leave my mum’s 1978 Triumph convertible back in the UK!

Is there a devotional component to this post?

To be honest, a devotional angle here would be stretching it! But “stretching it” really isn’t necessary when we understand every day in the context of abundant life.

Here’s my point. I wake up grateful every morning. I sit on the edge of the bed, stretch, and wait a few moments for my back, joints, head – pretty much everything – to stop hurting so much! Then I dress, get the coffee going, walk Max, and make my way back upstairs with coffee for Rebekah.

– Golf last week in DC

By that time I have talked with God a little, breathed in the fresh North Carolina air, and set the trajectory of my day in the context of Living Like I Mean it. It is a trajectory of gratitude, and of conscious awareness that I am a child of God called to live into the fullness of my salvation.

Because of that, yes, driving my little Golf TDi is an exercise in devotion and an inspiration to share.

So, “happy birthday, Golf!” And, “Thanks again, Andrew, this sure is a great ride.” – DEREK

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