Old Trucks, All Of Us

I have a crack in my windshield – oh the humanity! As I drove to work this morning it was there, reminding me that I had waited too long to have the nice people at the glass shop seal it for me a few weeks back. Its spidery tendrils now snake across the landscape of my vision, and getting a brake tag in a few months is pretty much out of the question. I’m also thinking that it takes away from the cosmetic appearance of my beautiful GMC 4x4 - makes it look unrefined and well-used. I need to take action here, and I need to do so quickly. The windshield must be replaced.

I remember a time when a cracked windshield was hardly noticed and in a strange way, it was expected. In high school I happened to inherit (no other way to explain it) a 1962 Chevrolet pickup truck; we both shared the same life span of seventeen years at the time, that truck and I. She was rust-bucket red with a faded white cab and smoked like a steamboat churning through hard water on the Mississippi. My dad had worked magic on the engine, somehow getting her running and procuring four bald tires to get his teen-aged son mobile again following the spasmodic, premature death of my previous vehicle. Neither he nor I cared for superficial appearance at the time, because it was different back then. In a previous life, the truck bed had been used to haul garbage, and the hard-crusted debris were by then impossible to remove. The bed was also replete with a sweet-gum tree growing up from some hidden alcove above the rear wheel-wells. To cap off its impressiveness, an abandoned toilet hung askew right outside the rear window. But she ran and I proudly drove her to church one Wednesday night for her maiden voyage.

I took a little bit of ribbing from my friends, but not too much so. You see, back then we all drove junk cars and trucks – new vehicles or nice, used vehicles were reserved for the older, more established members of a family. You know, the ones with jobs who paid the bills and otherwise made the rules. We never had a problem with it because we knew better and expected less.

Before the close of that first night, my friends had graciously endowed a nickname on my beloved truck: The Rolling Junkyard. The name fit, therefore it stuck. Falling parts and pieces, rusty brown dust, and a plume of blue oil smoke followed me wherever I travelled. Putting it mildly, no one tailgated me when I was under way on those lonely country roads back then. But I drove her all over our county and even recall a few members of the fairer gender that overlooked my vehicular shortcomings and were proud to ride up front with me. Despite looks and other misgivings (a tepid smell emanating from the ancient garbage, for one), my rolling junkyard always started on the first attempt and turned out to be very forgiving in the area of gas mileage. The only regret I have today is that I cannot recall what happened to the truck, and have no pictures to share with my children when they complain about their own whips (cars) they pilot on the self-same country roads I used to.

Oh for a truck today that is as reliable and non-pretentious as that one was. Ever faithful, she carried me wherever I wanted to go with minimal complaint. Was she really a rolling junk yard? Yes, and how. But she was my rolling junk yard and I grew to love her. Eventually, I even chiseled out most of the garbage, leaving the toilet in place merely for old time’s sake. (For the record, it was not a working toilet!)

Looking back, I have a lot in common with that ancient, almost forgotten truck from yesteryear, at least in my spiritual nature. My heart is rusty, neglected, and has many flaws covered by many more layers of filth and grime. But the Master touched me, got me running again, and most of all He loves me. In many ways I find myself much akin to the woman at the well, when she said, “Come, see a man, which told me all things that ever I did: is not this the Christ?” G_d knows everything I’ve done and everything I’ll ever do, and yet He loves me anyway - despite my sordid spiritual flaws.

I can be cantankerous, moody, neglectful, and sometimes unreliable. He loves me anyway. I can be a terrible example of a Christian at times, but He bought me with Calvary’s very high price, and my soul now belongs to Him. I'll always do my best to remember that fact, and in turn do my utmost to be as reliable as I can be in my daily walk with Him. You see, His love is reciprocal. John said it best: “We love him, because he first loved us.”

Best of all, unlike my past relationship with that old truck, He also promises me in His Word that He’ll hang on to me throughout eternity.

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