People are like cars?

Last Saturday, as I was driving to my weekly Dungeons and Dragons game, I saw a car which had the driver’s side almost completely dented inwards. For a second, I though “who would let their car look like that?”

Which then proceeded to include a long range of related thoughts that basically boil down to a few key points:

We are like cars

We choose how to wear our scars

Some wounds can only be healed by particular people

Taken by ercwttmn on Flickr

Cars don’t heal themselves. Right after we get in a car accident, we usually take our car into a mechanic so that it will work properly.

However, not everyone takes their damaged car into the mechanic after an accident. Sometimes the person doesn’t have the money to fix the car. Perhaps she doesn’t think the damage is bad enough to warrant a trip to the mechanic. Maybe he thinks he can fix it on his own and doesn’t need to ask for help. I have even heard of some owners leaving superficial damage to remind them to drive more carefully.

Even still, the owner may not even know their car has been damaged. When a car has body damage, anyone can see that the car needs work in order to be restored to its original form. If the car has sustained engine damage and the owner knows nothing about cars, he or she may think the car doesn’t need help and drive until the car breaks down.

Compare this to people: we all breakdown. Sometimes due to accidents and sometimes simply due to wear and tear.

A car may have superficial damage, but otherwise be perfectly functioning. Likewise, a sports car may look beautiful on the outside, yet have functional engine problems. Another car may be damaged both internally and externally. Another still may have no problems whatsoever.

This diversity in amount of damage holds true for people, too. The fundamental difference lies in what the car or the person has gone through.

No other person can tell, just by looking at a car or person, what the problem is. If you were not a mechanic, could you identify a fundamental transmission flaw just by taking a peek under the hood? I know I couldn’t. Most mechanics ask the owner for an explanation of what the car has been through.

Even still each mechanic is different. Some specialize in brake repair while others fine tune engines. Each has his or her own skills in fixing a broken car.

With people, we can’t know everything we’ve been through. But when we know just enough, equipped with the right knowledge and tools, perhaps we too can be the mechanic to fix that wreck.

There is one other way in which people compare to cars. When a car is totaled, most people will leave it for lost. In this instance, ‘totaled’ means that the car requires more money to fix than the owner paid to buy it.

However, not all worth comes in monetary increments. Perhaps the car is vintage, one of a kind. Given the right circumstances, a once totaled car can become more beautiful than it’s original model.

This also holds with people. When someone has gone through hell and back, perhaps some scarring trauma that leaves them almost incapable of dealing with life, many may deem that person ‘totaled’ or not worth fixing.

I disagree. Each person is worth fixing. Each life valuable. Each person is worth more than the cost of a totaled car. The fixing lies in finding the right mechanic.

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