Story: VW Camper Van

This is a REFRAMING story – how to move on if inconsolable after being ‘dumped’.

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VW campervan

Now on life’s journey we sometimes need to seek help from others when we have a tricky situation or problem to deal with. I am reminded of a story that a colleague told me about a group of friends who despite being scattered far and wide – some lived at the other end of the country while others lived in other countries altogether – still remained close for the purposes of keeping in touch and helping each other.

Typically a friend with a difficulty or dilemma e-mailed the others with a description of the dilemma and asked for their thoughts as to how to resolve the issue. On one occasion one of the friends called Tony had lent his VW Campervan to his brother so that he could go on a tour around Europe. The VW had been beautifully restored, the end result of months of loving care, devotion and attention, and was without any shadow of a doubt a motorised true love. It even had a name: Gertrude.

The brother had promised to look after the VW and return it in the condition with which he took it. However, the trip around Europe proved more wearing than anyone had thought. Stopping off far, far away on the southern most tip of Spain and after many enjoyable and rewarding months travelling, the VW finally gave up the ghost. It simply could not keep up with the demands of its driver. Now what Tony needed was a miracle but that was unlikely.

The worst aspect of this tale was that neither Tony, the VW owner, nor the brother could really afford to have the VW shipped back to England. And it was this dilemma that Tony asked his friends to help him solve. The first reply came back and suggested that Tony take some time off work, travel to Spain, fix the VW and drive it back. The second reply suggested that Tony ask his brother to take a loan out, have the VW fixed in Spain and then drive it back straightaway. The third reply suggested, convincingly, that Tony should cut his losses, remember the good times, buy another VW in need of renovation, and start a labour of love all over again. The fourth reply suggested that Tony put the broken VW in storage somewhere and when he was able to afford it to bring it back.

The last friend suggested that she didn’t know what to do but that, perhaps, Tony already knew what to do but didn’t yet know that he knew. The reply added that all Tony needed to do was wait and a solution would come to him. A few months later Tony e-mailed all of his friends, thanked them for their advice, and attached a photo of his new VW Campervan, which he had clearly spent some time on.

Mark Evans, Human Givens therapist