Seriously, my family should never let me drive anywhere alone.
On the same trip where I went joy riding across someone’s farmland, I had another fun adventure on the way home. Whilst driving 70MPH in 93 degree heat, happily listening to NPR and feeling thankful about the weekend visit, I noticed that it was starting to get “whistlier” in the van. Whistlier and whistlier. I realized that the driver side window had somehow let itself down a quarter inch, and the hot air rushing in was creating a very loud whistle in the car. I hit the power window button to raise it and POP, the window made a sound and began a slow descent. By the way, POP is never a good sound. Not for windows, ankles, or weasels. Clicking the button a thousand times (surprisingly) did not solve the problem, so now I was driving 70MPH in 93 degree heat with my window completely down. Do you know how long it takes for your instrument panel to completely fog over in that kind of weather? I think it was less than three minutes.
I stopped at a gas station, and lo and behold, I pulled into a pump next to a van that said, “WE FIX WINDOWS. ALL KINDS OF WINDOWS.” Now I knew better than to expect the guy to be able to fix a car power-widow, but somehow I felt an instant kinship with him and just knew he would be my hero. He managed to wiggle my window back up, but of course it slid down as soon as he let go. A guy behind him filling up his Mercedes called over, “The only way to keep that up is to duct tape it into place.” Mr. We-Fix-All-Windows then explained he was already late for a call, and left. I went into the Quick Mart and bought duct tape, and returned to find that Mr. Mercedes had also left.
Looking to the right, I spotted two older gentlemen sitting under a tree at a picnic table, playing checkers and drinking beverages out of tall, frosty aluminum cans. They surely were to be my heroes! So I drove over to the picnic area, announced myself in need of help, and showed them my duct tape, presenting it like proof of my sincerity. In the sweltering heat, these gentlemen taped my window into place.
I told them that they were my “good Samaritans” and thanked them for blessing me so much. Neither of them were familiar with the Good Samaritan story, so I launched into it with great enthusiasm as they pushed, pulled, grunted, sweat, and taped the window into place.
Realizing that I needed to set the scene about how extraordinary it was for a Samaritan to help a Jew when I got to that part of the story, (since Jews and Samaritans were people from two different cultures who never even spoke to one another) I suddenly hesitated. Here I was, a white woman, talking to two elderly black men about two cultures that had a history of not getting along. I wondered if they saw me that way. I wondered if they wondered if I saw them that way.
I went on to say that Jews and Samaritans would only help their own people, and so helping people who were not “their people” was the point of the story. Jesus was trying to teach all of us about who our neighbor really is….and that we are called to be a neighbor to everyone, especially someone in need.
“Do you think that happens today?” the older one asked. “Not enough,” I replied, “I think if we all helped each other a little more, this world would be a better place. And I sure am glad you fellows were here to help me today.” He nodded in agreement as he smoothed the last piece of tape into place. “Yeah, if we all helped each other, maybe we wouldn’t feel like everything is going to hell in a handbasket.” Preach it, brother.
I thanked them for the blessing they gave me that day, and asked if I could take their picture for my online devotional. One immediately objected, saying that his wife didn’t know it, but he probably has children out there that even HE doesn’t know about who might recognize him. If so, he didn’t want her to find out. But after the other one insisted they have their picture taken, he consented. You know, since he wasn’t actually running from the law…just his wife. Who doesn’t read my devotionals.
As we parted, we shook hands and I thanked them profusely. The older fellow looked me in the eye as he grasped my hand and said, “Thank you for letting us help you today. I sho am glad we could help you. I just sho am glad!”
I wish Mr. Mercedes and Mr. We-Fix-All-Windows had stuck around to see it. They missed their blessing.
Hebrews 16 NIV
15 Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that openly profess his name. 16 And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.
God was pleased with my two new friends. I was safely on my way, having received more than a taped window. I got to share a Jesus story with two fellows who got to BE a Jesus story.
Where is God calling you to be a Jesus story? Take some duct tape along with you. It fixes everything.
Blessed are the duct tapers, for they shall be Jesus.