Tuesday, 29 May 2012

A Pretty Blue Car With An Old Rusted Dent.

A youth I work with told me about how one day she had gotten drunk, stolen her mom’s car and drove 20 minutes to the next town.  On the way back home she was pulled over by the police.  She had been driving a stolen vehicle, while drunk and she does not have even her learner’s licence.  When they called her mom her mom was furious.  She went into the youth's room and started ripping things apart, throwing things on the ground and otherwise trashing the place.  It took days for her anger to finally subside.  When the youth told what had happened, she was repentant and regretted the thing she had done.  She was working to gain back her mother’s trust and mend that relationship.

I was reminded of a time 4 or 5 years ago when I was still living at my parents house.  I asked my dad if I could borrow his car to go pick up my friend, and he willingly agreed.  As I backed out of the garage I heard a crunching sound, the sound that is made when a car hits the side of a garage.  As I was looking behind me it was that noise which alerted me to the fact that the front end of my dad’s car was crunching into the garage door frame.  When I returned to the house with my friend, slightly embarrassed, my father let me be.  Once the time had come for me to take my friend home, I approached my dad, and confessed that I had dented his car.  He nodded, I think he knew.  “Can I borrow your car again so that I can drive my friend home?” I asked somewhat timidly.  I am sure he made a joke that questioned my driving ability, but he let me drive his car again.  There was not a moment of anger, no display of disappointment.  No desire to shame me or to punish me.  When my dad’s friend came over to fix the garage door track, my dad sent me out to help.  That was the extent to which I had to make up for what I had done.  (And I am pretty sure I uselessly stood and watched and did not help at all.) Someone else fixed my mistake, and my dad drove around with a dent on his car for the rest of his life.  He wasn’t one to worry about what others would think.  He didn’t have the need to appear perfect.  He didn’t go around telling everyone that I had dented his car.  He didn’t need to because he didn’t care if people thought it was him.  He was content with what he had, even if that was a dent on his car.

I am now driving my dad’s car, a car with a dent.  A dent that reminds me of my mistake and my dad’s mercy. A dent that reminds me that appearances don’t matter, but love does.  A dent that reminds me that broken garages are easier to fix than broken people, but sometime we have to do our best to mend the wounds from other’s mistakes.  It is a dent that reminds me that what really matters in life is people, not possessions.
Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.
1 Corinthians 11:1

I am grateful for the opportunity I had to follow my father’s example.  He was a follower of Christ, kind and compassionate, gentle, calm and forgiving.  I hope that what I have learned from him I will be able to pass on to others.

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