Thursday, March 30, 2006
I watched tearfully today as a single Mom timidly drove out of the church parking lot in a 1992 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme. No, I wasn't crying because somebody actually had to get behind the wheel of that doomed make and model. Normally I wouldn't wish that upon my worst enemy. I was moved because this precious woman caught a much needed break in a life marked by heartache and hardship. Her car, you see, was a donation, a gift of love by a person who had never had the priveledge of meeting the woman they so generously blessed.
This year alone Irving Bible Church has given away a staggering 40 cars to folks of varying ages, genders, and life situations. Most have fallen upon some seriously hard times, and a car represents a clean slate with which to spark an upward trend. All are grateful, especially those of us priveledged enough to take part in the give-a-way process.
I'll never forget the time we gave a manual transmission Jeep Cherokee away to a man who had never driven a stick before. I nearly slipped a disk trying to teach this guy how to drive. Sitting in the passengers seat that afternoon felt more like riding shotgun in a horse drawn buggy down a rocky slope than a driving lesson, but we kept at it. We screeched around the parking lot for an hour before deciding to drive him home so that his brother-in-law could continue his lessons until he was safe on the roads. When we dropped him off, this smiling young man yelled "I'm going to learn how to drive this car, I promise you that!"
I'm pretty sure he kept his promise.
Most of the cars we give away aren't going to win any beauty pageants. Many are well worn with high mileage and splotched paint. Occasionally we'll get something in which your kids wouldn't be embarrased to be dropped off at school. Regardless, for those looking to make life work "for" instead of against them, beauty is not a high priority. They just want what I like to call an "A to B" car. That's the kind of vehicle that serves one purpose and one purpose only: to get you from "A to B" in one piece.
In working with this wonderful ministry I've learned to cherish my 1994 Nissan Maxima. Although it has a whopping 170,000 miles on it, I am able to make it from "A to B" whenever need be. It's paid for, and it's one of two vehicles that inhabit my driveway (a driveway which, by the way, is attached to my house - yet another reason to be thankful!). I have it so much better than most, and the car ministry keeps me mindful of that valuable perspective.
So the next time you think you might be better off without that clunker, think about the person who might see your lemon as the apple of her eye, and consider donating your vehicle to the cause. We'll make sure it's running, and we'll find someone who will be happy to set sail in your castaway... even if they have to learn how to drive it first!
For more information on the car minstry of Irving Bible Church, click here