We've been having car trouble lately. In the past month and half, the Volvo dealership has made some money off of the Samsons, darn them. But the cars are paid off and we're trying to do all we can not to get find ourselves in the seventh circle of car-payment hell.
We had a mishap with the old sedan. Will blogged about it here. Our daughter, whose car it is (when we don't need it), loves her some bumperstickers. She said, "Well, I guess God really is a Republican!" Ha! Anyway, we looked on-line at some used cars, found some options, felt sicker than the day after trick-or-treats, and finally Will said, "Let me just get estimates from a body shop."
So fine. In some way, getting a new vehicle is fun (for about a week and then the guilt hits) and the hunting for one is enjoyable, but in other ways, I was relieved he suggested it.
We ended up at a body shop nearby with the nicest man you've ever met. I swear, this man was wonderful. The man at the foreign car repair shop around the corner said, "He's the most honest person you'll ever find."
He looked over our car, said they probably wouldn't have to replace the door or the quarter panel, and honestly, he had the strangest accent I'd ever heard. I swear, it was Kentucky mixed with what? I had no idea.
We sat down at the desk, he told us when he'd be able to call with an estimate and handed Will his card. "I'm Jack," he said. "And my last name is long and really hard to pronounce."
"Where are you from?" I asked. (I had to know about that crazy accent!)
"Oh, from Iran." The words were said with a bit of apology.
Here was one of the most honest body shop owners in the city, obviously in the states long enough to get some twang into his accent, English fluent, kind and helpful. Yeah, God bless America!
I recalled a story from my youth of my great-grandmother, from Germany, who came over when my grandfather was in utero (1895). In WWI or WWII (can't remember which), this woman, who once scrubbed floors to support herself and my young grandfather, had to make sure she was home before dark and didn't speak in public, the anti-German sentiment was so high.
Nowadays, I guess Jack has a lot in common with my grandmother. And I find that a shame after all these years. You'd think we'd be different by now.
Sometimes I wonder whether or not we should just be honest and take the Statue of Liberty down. I've been reading in Exodus lately with Jake (who loves the Old Testament) and I'm so struck by God's care for the "alien among you, because you too were once aliens in the land of Egypt." Just as somewhere down the line our parents, grandparents, or however-many-greats grandparents, were aliens in a strange land.
As believers, we are to be no respector of persons, because Jesus isn't. But we want to be safe and make sure there's always enough for ourselves. Somehow, I just don't see how that fits in with the gospel. I'd like it to sometimes. It's easier to make this life about myself. But Jesus calls us to something far more spectacular than safety and security: He calls us to take up a cross.
Jack certainly has his own cross to bear these days.