DOWN HOME: Take a muddy ride down life’s road

down home

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With water always in short supply across Texas, why do I have such a hard time driving to church without messing up my car?

Once upon a time, I was thoroughly convinced that if I washed our cars on Saturday, we’d get rain on Sunday.

Sometimes, I resisted, because I remembered what my pastor-daddy always says, “Nineteen drops of water will keep 20 Baptists from coming to church.”

So, I would practice what you could call dirty-vehicle soul-winning: Avoid the carwash on Saturday to ensure clear skies on Sunday. That way, more people would attend church, love Jesus and go to heaven.

I don’t think they teach that in the seminary, at least not in the evangelism department. Maybe in some logic or philosophy classes.

Eventually, I disproved the carwash-one-day/rain-the-next-day theory. Or maybe I just got tired of driving dirty cars. I don’t remember which. (OK, my friends who know me well also know the answer. And since they’ll rat on me if I don’t own up to it, I’ll confess: I’m a neat freak. I particularly enjoy driving a clean car. A friend of mine used to work for Ford, and one of his job perks was a free car wash every week. Amazing.)

Anyway, I often wash Joanna’s car and my car on Saturday. Around here, we rarely get rain on Sunday. But I still have a hard time driving all the way to church with a clean car.

That’s because of the people who let their water sprinklers water the street. Almost every Sunday, we drive down one particular road where the sprinkler water runs all the way across.

Sometimes, Jo laughs at me, because I drive like I’m traveling through a school zone—down to 20 miles per hour, or slower. She knows I’m holding back so the spray from other cars will fall back to the street and not land on my clean windshield.

But, hey, can you blame me? Who wants to drive around in a scuzzy-grungy car? I mean, what’s the point of washing your automobile if you can’t keep it clean for, oh, at least 24 hours?

Besides, even if we don’t all agree on global warming, most folks around these parts know water’s in short supply, and we need to preserve all of it we can.

Of course, I know a car—at least any car I can afford—is made for driving, not looking pretty. So, you’ve got to get in it and drive. Through rain. Past sprinkler puddles. If you leave your car in the garage just because you don’t want a dirty windshield, your priorities are skewed.

And that may be a metaphor for life. God didn’t promise us blue skies and fair weather. Life is messy. But God did promise to ride with us. Through storms and puddles and even floods. In the end, our lives won’t be judged by how pristine they are and how few dents we get, but by how useful we’ve been.


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