Along with our sweet tea, SEC football, and good manners, in the South we also have an affinity for lawn ornaments. These can range from the occasional flamingo, the weeping angel statues you’ll find in gardens, or my favorite eyesore- the car up on blocks. I’m not sure why you will see so many cars up on blocks here in the South, but I like to think that it tells us a lot about the person that lives in the residence. When I see a car up on blocks I have a few thoughts about the person who owns that car, and things that might be true about him or her. Cars can be a lot like people, and symbolic of relationships. Some cars can be members of the family and some even have names. A few questions come to mind when I see a car up on blocks. Is it fixable? Is it worth it?
Cars aren’t meant to work forever. However, if treated properly, they can last for a long time with maintenance. If a car isn’t maintained, much like a relationship, it will break down and it will not be usable. When a malfunction occurs it could be something simple, but odds are, if the car is up on blocks than it is definitely a problem much more complex. Most of the time before a vehicle completely breaks down there are a lot of signs that something has gone wrong. There might be a little symbol in your dashboard, or there could be a noise you hear when you are running the roads. Relationship symbols and sounds are a little different when they are signaling trouble, but they are there nonetheless. Communication is usually the key to both the breaking of the relationship, and also whether or not it gets fixed.
Signs your relationship are headed for a breakdown are easy to spot. While oil in a car is necessary, the relationship equivalent of oil is communication. It is the one thing that can help keep everything running smoothly. As long as communication is open and honest, there is hope to keep your engines running.
Another sign your relationship is headed for a breakdown is the same as if we were talking about a car. Sometimes, with little warning, something breaks. Something changes. It could be circumstances, it might be something deliberate. With a car it doesn’t matter if someone cuts your brake line,or someone let the air out of your tire, time is of the essence in figuring out what it wrong and getting it fixed. The same can be said of most relationships. Getting to the problem is half the battle, but fixing the problem can be the most tricky.
Which leads me to what happens when something breaks? When a breakdown occurs, one thing is for sure. It won’t fix itself. With relationships, because there is more than one person involved, this is a complex situation. In order for it to function properly it is not as simple as replacing a malfunctioning part. The process can take a long time. Also, there is the risk that it might never be fixed. Not everything is fixable.
When something has gone wrong you can respond in one of a few ways. You can try to fix it yourself, take it into the shop, or you can rely on a friend to help you. As a last resort the car might be beyond fixable, and therefore you might have to make a bigger decision than you first planned. In rare instances, a car might end up on blocks until you can decide what direction to go in. Restoration, trading it in, scrapping it, and just letting it sit there are all things that could happen to a car that is in need of assistance. When a relationship runs into trouble, the options are very similar.
Restoration is the first option. When a car is a wonderful piece of machinery and it could be worth much more fixed, people will choose to restore the car. It will require much time, hard work, and probably money, but when they finish what they started, it will be something to be enjoyed for years to come. Sometimes restoration is a wonderful option in relationships too. Sometimes with a little tender love and care an old beat up relationship can seem new as long as both parties are committed to the process, and it will be a process.
You can trade a car in, and sometimes that is truly the best option. Maybe you aren’t attached to the car emotionally, and the best thing to do is to just replace it with a new car. Getting a new car can be exciting and fun. The same is true with a new relationship. If the commitment isn’t there, maybe the best option is to get a new one.
Sometimes you don’t need the car, and you can just scrap it. If it doesn’t work anyway, it’s a great option. You might not need to replace the existing car, but you know holding on to it isn’t the best thing to do. This is also true about relationships. Maybe you are better off single for the moment, or maybe you just need some time to figure things out.
Lastly, you could just let it sit there. This is the option I refer to as putting a car up on blocks. This particular choice makes me wonder more than the other options. Letting something sit there with no progress toward the greater good also means that there will be negative consequences. Things rarely just sit and don’t get worse. When a car, or a relationship, is up on blocks it’s not going anywhere, and there are usually no plans for it to go anywhere. So, why keep it? Sometimes it is the sentimental reasons that make us reluctant to let go. Maybe a lot of firsts happened. Maybe you just aren’t ready to have a final decision. Maybe you don’t know how to fix it, and you are waiting on something to happen to guide you in the right direction. Perhaps you just don’t have the time to devote to fixing it, but you don’t want to let it go just yet. Whatever the reason, when I found myself pondering this recently, I found myself judgmental of those I knew with those kind of relationships. Then I realized I was in possession of a few relationships up on blocks myself.
I decided that I had been holding on to things because I was scared of letting them go. I was scared because I wanted to keep them so much, I didn’t care if they hurt me. For a long time it was worth it to not say how I felt because I wanted to protect someone that meant everything to me, but I knew that in their eyes, it was me that was up on blocks. The truth is as human beings we are worth the best life we can lead. It may not be what we want, but maybe things will find their way to make them okay. So if you are reading this and someone is not choosing you, then choose yourself. You choose you, because you are worth it. A good friend of mine has a dream car I’ve never heard of, but that means there is someone out there for everyone. You are someone’s dream. It might not always be perfect, but you deserve something amazing.
A relationship is not a trophy. It’s not a merit badge we wear with our accomplishments. It’s how we treat another human being , and they in turn translate that into having value to you. You are essentially letting someone know you love them when you are investing in your maintenance. When you invest in a person, you should get a return on your investment. The value of a car that is being worked on rarely goes down, and the same could be said about most relationships. But if for some reason you are pouring money into the car equivalent of the Money Pit, and you love it with all your heart, but it will never transport you anywhere again, please ask yourself why you are doing that. At the end of the day, you aren’t going around in circles, you are going nowhere. We all know that it is rare that a car up on blocks ever actually makes it off. Luckily, here in the South, with a little kudzu we can consider them yard art.