05 January 2011


I am often intrigued by the vanity plates that people put on their cars (and pay extra money to do so). Some messages are easy to figure out (LKY DWG or CA LAKER or GD BLSD) while some have meaning only to their owners. But I saw a license tag earlier this week that stuck in my brain and is the stimulus for this blog.

I first noticed the car because it was SHARP – silver grey convertible Mustang – gleaming in the sun as it zoomed past me on the highway. I noticed it because I love love love convertibles and I love love love Mustangs. And then I noticed the license plate: IOWENO1. “I owe no one”. At first, I thought, “well, that’s great – his car is paid for and he doesn’t owe anything on it.” Having never had a car note in my life, I understand the joy and pride in being able to make such a claim. There is a joy in ownership that makes you want to just puff out your chest and scream, “yep, yep – this is mine, I own it, no one can take it from me – not the bank, not the insurance company – it’s mine, it’s paid for, I own it. Be jealous.” I get that, and ain’t necessarily mad about it.

But the more I followed this car, I started thinking about a different, more insidious message he could be conveying. “I owe nobody nothing – I GOT this on my own, look what I did.” This is a deeper, more foreboding kind of pride in my book. It is my belief that, as we go through life, at some point in the journey, we all owe somebody something. We owe our parents love and respect because they brought us into the world and hopefully, gave us the tools we need to survive and be contributing members to society. We owe our families, friends and support networks for the love and care they feed into our lives. We owe our teachers who, along the way, encouraged us to expand our minds and reach for seemingly impossible dreams in order to better ourselves and the world around us. In other words, none of us walk through this life alone. And therefore, because of this, at some point and somewhere along the way, we do owe someone something. There is a debt to be repaid.

But even if you don’t agree with me about the earthly debts we might owe, there definitely is a spiritual debt that we owe to our Heavenly Father. Without Him, we could not live, breathe, have our being or even open our eyes in the morning. [Now, I have a friend who upon reading this blog will read me the riot act and tell me that the opening of our eyes each morning is a natural function that happens automatically and that God has nothing to do with it. Yeah, we disagree 100% on that, but I let him flap his lips about it, shake my head and walk away praying for him.]

I just wonder sometimes, if that is how the enemy of our souls started down the dark path that would eventually lead him away from God. Did he wake up one morning thinking that he’d done it under his own power? Did he think he didn’t “owe” anyone anything either? Did he look in the mirror and decide he could do it bigger and better than the Creator Himself? I don’t know, but it makes me sad because MAYBE if he hadn’t given in to the thought of his own self-importance and feeling of “I got this and I don’t need or owe anyone anything”, we wouldn’t be caught up in this spiritual tug-of-war between good and evil now.

IOWENO1…nice concept for a license plate, but I think you do “owe” somebody anonymous Georgia driver…I think you do.

Be blessed.

© 2011 Kristina E. Smith
Wednesday, January 05, 2011

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