Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Springfield Today, October 24, 2017

October 26, 2017 by  
Filed under Blog

Good Moanin’ Spingfieldians,

This is one of my all-time favorite dad stories and bath stories. Beth is my younger sister and her birthday is this week and so in honor of Beth I retell the story. If you’ve heard it, I’m sure you’ll remember it.

My Dad was a car guy.  Now, by that I don’t mean he worked on his cars, or that he raced his cars, or that he tricked out his cars.  When I say he was a car guy, I mean he just loved his cars.  Actually he was a Ford guy.  He loved the Fords and the Mercurys that he drove.

You see he worked for the Ford Motor Company for 43 years before he retired.  His father had worked and retired from Ford, and his father-in-law had worked and retired from Ford also. So maybe it was just in my Dad’s DNA, but he loved his Fords.

He loved his cars.

He could tell you every car that he ever owned.  He could tell you what it cost, and who he got it from, and the different problems he had encountered with each car.  He changed the oil every 3000 miles and kept the tires properly inflated and rotated when he was supposed to. He even named his cars and called them by name.

I still remember the day my dad came home after buying another new car, and he wasn’t complaining mind you, actually I think he was proud of the fact that this new car he had just bought cost him more than what he had paid for his house, which he had bought about 25 years before.

He loved his cars.

He took care of his cars.  When we were kids he didn’t let us ever eat in the car, and you better make sure that you didn’t kick the back of the seats, when you were riding in the backseat, no matter what your brother or sister was doing to you.  I don’t ever remember seeing my dad’s cars dirty.

He loved his cars.

He loved them to be clean.  He took great, great care of his cars.  He was proud of the cars he drove.

Now, I’m telling you all of that to tell you what happened one summer day.  It’s important you understand the depth of the love my Dad had for his cars.  They weren’t just inanimate objects to him.  They weren’t just a means of transportation, to get from one place to another.  You need to understand he really, really loved his cars.

So this one sunny, summer day; it was a Saturday, and my Dad, had my mom drop him off at the church so he could mow the churchyard. I think the yard was probably six or seven acres, and the church had a riding mower, and that was one of the many things he did for the little church we attended.

The year was 1972. I know that because my Dad had just bought a brand new car, a car which would become my first car when I would buy it from him some years later.  If I remember correctly he bought the car in late May, and this sunny, summer day was the Saturday before Father’s Day.  So my Dad had had his brand new car probably not even a month yet.

My younger sister, Beth, who would have been 12 years old, decided as a Father’s Day gift she would wash my Dad’s brand new car for him while he was gone.  It was a great idea, he would appreciate it, but even great ideas sometimes go awry.

She had been washing the car for sometime when I happened to look out the window to see how she was progressing.  And immediately I noticed that blue paint, blue like the color of the new car that my Dad loved, was floating down the driveway into the street.  I was 15 at the time, but I knew that something was terribly wrong, and I ran out of the house and yelled at my sister to stop whatever doing she was doing.  She was completely unaware that anything was wrong.

I said, “Don’t you see the blue paint on the driveway, what are you doing?”

And Beth, held up a steel wool pad she had been using on my Dad’s brand new car that he loved.

And I, even I, who I don’t think had ever felt sorry for my bratty-little sister, felt bad for my sister.  I knew my Dad was going to kill her.  This one who for all of her life had gotten me in trouble by tattling on me; this one who had bugged me and my friends whenever they were over to our house, this one who had been my target of my teasing for so long, I now actually felt sorry for her.

Not sorry enough to stay with her when my Mom drove that new car, with all these scratches, to the church to pick up my Dad.  I went with my mom because I wanted to see how my dad was going to react.  And I was so glad that this time it wasn’t me who was going to feel the wrath of Bob Prince.  We drove into the church parking lot, and my dad was on the tractor at the very back of the lot, and as soon as he saw us pull in, the sun most have been reflecting off the car perfectly, because he immediately made a bee-line straight toward us.  I think, I’m not sure, but I think I saw smoke coming from his ears, and the closer he got it seemed the redder his face got.

By the time he got to us, he was hot.  He jumped off the tractor, ran toward us and the car and before my Mom could get a word out he was demanding to know what had happened to his new car.

My mom tried to calm him down, and told him all the sordid details.

The three of us drove home in absolute silence.  I just knew I was going to be the witness to the first capital punishment case in the State of Michigan, and it would be carried out on my sister for her great crime.  I just knew all the punishments I had ever received over the years, all the groundings, all the privileges that had been taken away, all the spankings I had endured – all of it was going to pale in comparison to what my little, bratty sister was going to receive.

We pulled into the driveway, and my sister met us there; tears were already rolling down her face. She too was anticipating the gavel being slammed down, and the pronouncement of death being given. And you now what my Dad did?  You know what my Dad, who loved his car, did?

He got out of the car, walked right up to my sister, swooped her up in his arms and forgave her.  Through her tears she tried to apologize, and he said, “I forgive you.”  She tried to explain she didn’t know she wasn’t supposed to use steel wool.  And he said, “It doesn’t matter, I forgive you.”

And I don’t think my sister ever got over the fact that my Dad chose to forgive her that day.  I think it colored their relationship for the rest of her life.  No matter what kind of trouble she got in after that, and she got into plenty as a teen; and no matter what kind of discipline my Dad used after that – she never got over the fact that on that day when she washed his new car that he loved with steel wool – he chose to forgive her.

She never got over the fact that she had been forgiven and it affected not only her relationship with our Dad, but with everyone else.  Now she is so quick to offer forgiveness to others.  She never carries a grudge.  No offense, no matter how great, is beyond forgiveness.  She was so grateful to experience unexpected, undeserved forgiveness.  She has never gotten over it.

And the reason my Dad was able to forgive, even after the car he loved was washed with steel wool, is because he had never gotten over the fact that when he encountered Jesus Christ, after all he did, after all he had hurt by his destructive, alcoholic lifestyle – after all of that – he was forgiven, and he thought the least he could do is to worship the Lord, express His love for the Lord – by forgiving others.

Somehow he understood he was God’s chosen instrument of grace for another person, he had received grace, and he was quick to offer grace – and his example of being a grace–giver then affected the next generation, my sister – who became a grace-giver, and it continues on because my sister’s daughters are grace givers – and the one who has kids is now extending grace to her children – and it all can be traced back to example of one man chosen to be instrument of grace, who said yes, and offered grace to others.

Who do you need to extend grace to today?

Happy Birthday Beth!

 

What You need to Know…

To everyone who attended Worship Gathering this past Sunday, I would like to extend my most heartfelt thanks!  It was a surprise to be honored during service for my 27 ½ years of service to this church and its pastors and congregation.  My love for the pastors, the job, and the people has made it so difficult for me to come to this decision to retire.  It really is bittersweet, but something I know God has nudged me into…many times until I decided He was right!   Thank you for all your words of well-wishes and encouragement. Thanks for the many cards and gifts.  You are all very much a part of me and my family!  Although I won’t be coming into the office to work after November 2nd, I will still be around doing volunteer work at the church.  Thanks for helping me to be a better Christian by all YOU do!    Much love and appreciation, Jean Pickett

Use the form at the Information Center or in the bulletin to donate to help feed the needy a complete hot Thanksgiving Dinner again this year!  We have so many who are unable to afford the luxury of a turkey dinner.  We also need volunteers to help deliver the meals at 11:00 AM on Thanksgiving Day, November 23.  This only takes an hour or less!

ESCAPE ROOM:   Saturday, October 28, 2 – 9 PM and Sunday, October 29, 2 – 9 PM.  Please sign up at the Information Center or call the office 529-6771 to RSVP your spot for your team!  We have some times still open.  Let’s help the teens attend camp and mystery trip!  They do ministry and outreach on every mystery trip. $10 per person will get you tons of laughter and fun while you’re trying to figure out the clues to unlock the door and escape from the room you’re in!

Pink Sunday – October 29 – Wear pink to church. We’ll pray for those who’ve survived cancer and those who are battling cancer, and those who have family members affected by cancer.

Blood Drive – November 1, 3:30 – 6:30 – come anytime or call 241-7550 for an appointment.

 

Please pray for:

Jim Mills – health issues
Charles Camp – health issues
Karen Rheude – to have rotator cuff surgery next week

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