Rat Rod Rusty...why I love my cruiser

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Aug 21, 2014
This is a post from my blog..http://thenorthstarfoundation.wordpress.com

"The North Star Foundation, a place that points first responders toward the healing of open scars and points families toward reconnecting with what is most important."

It's hard to believe half the year is almost past us. When I embarked on the journey of writing this blog I had set some small goals for myself. Mainly I wanted to commit to writing something every week for this entire year. When I began the words almost flowed like water and now as I've progressed its harder and harder to pull the emotion from my soul. I feel some of what I'm writing is helping others like it has begun to help me.

I know this because many of you have reached out and told me so. It's so very humbling to hear that something I've written made an positive impact on your day or helped you move thru a challenge and even motivated some of you to begin your own journey towards the future. I've written about so many topics incorporating a diversity of analogies. I look back at these writings and see topics like cooking, climbing, cancer, death, fishing and leadership. All sprinkled with a touch of spirituality and lots of emotion. I've begun some much needed healing and this outpouring of words has helped me understand myself a little better and hopefully is leading me towards growth. Ive found that every step forward I take with letting some emotion pour thru my writing I end up taking two steps backwards. As Jim shared in church this evening, the thoughts and memories evoked from my writing end up sparking small fires within me and its so very difficult to keep them from consuming my soul.

This process of healing has ironically moved outside of my writing and into my hands. Recently, Kim and Aspen bought me the greatest Father's Day gift, a 1973 Toyota Landcruiser. I've begun restoration on this well weathered vehicle and as I crawl, kneel, wrench and cuss while working on it I can't help but recognize the similarities between this project and myself. "Rusty" and I are only years apart in age, we both seem to have numerous broken bones, patched holes and painted over scars. Our tires are well worn, our lights flicker and it takes a little while to get us started and moving. But like Rusty, once running and moving forward there is very little that can stop us or even would want to get in our way. We both where made during a time when steel and iron where the key ingredients. When we didn't need electronics and computers to get moving. We both can be opened up easily and parts can be replaced and repaired without specialized tools and computers. There are no airbags or fancy seat belts to soften the wrecks and limit the damage. We'll never be the fastest, strongest, smartest or win any beauty pageants but if you want a warrior to carry a heavy load, cross rough terrain and lead out front then we may be the vehicle for you.

I spent hours replacing, repairing, monkey rigging and customizing my "rat rod Rusty". But like my internal struggles there is only so much that can be done before you either do more damage or something falls off while your driving never to be found again. So that's where you end up, old and broken but in the right circumstance the perfect tool for the job. I've begun to understand the effects of my career, Kim's cancer and scars from my youth can't just be fixed. Sometimes you need to just recognize that the holes, leaking oil and rusty steel are all part of what makes you resilient. Repair what you can, replace what is possible and "rattle can" the rest. In other words, there is beauty in being worn, having driven the road back from hell and showing a little rust on your fenders. None of us are perfect and all we can hope is that like Rusty, after a lifetime of abuse someone will be there to restore us, love us and every now and again take us for a ride.

I'm fortunate enough to now realize that Kim is here to begin the restoration, her and Aspen love me more than a man like me deserves and that they both still like taking me out for a spin every now and again. And like taking Rusty to the local shopping center, everyone stares and once and a while someone stops to take a closer look and shares their appreciation. So thank each of you for stopping and reading my writing and showing some appreciation for this old, beat down and rusted man.

As we move into the second half of my effort I ask just one favor from each of you. If you truly do value what we are trying to do here and if something I've written has helped you, can you please share this blog with one other person. Pick a favorite post, one that made a difference in your day or one that may help someone who may need a message of hope and send it. My goal by the end of this year is not about numbers but more about a message. I don't have that whole thing figured out yet but I know that God has given me a passion and a gift to write and part of my purpose must be to help share something he has to say and something he wants us all to know.

Thanks for your support and kind words of encouragement to keep pressing on.

Jay C Stalnacker

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