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Although tops on his list of dream vehicles is a brand new Ford F-150 “Lightning” pickup truck, my husband’s eyes still mist whenever anyone mentions “the limo.”
Back when we lived in California, Barry had decided we needed a second car. So, he brought home a 1968 Ford Falcon station wagon, or as I like to describe it, a 22-year-old rumbling, clattering, smoking bucket of tin and rust, the color reminiscent of Cream of Wheat mixed with mashed lima beans and putty. And that’s being generous.
Our youngest daughter, who was about 6 at the time, announced, “Dad, you got a limo.”
Obviously, she had meant to say “lemon,” which was a whole lot closer to the truth, Still, the name stuck.
Barry had fallen in love with his “limo” from the start. He washed it faithfully with scouring powder and bleach. He installed a radio antenna and connected it to a portable radio with alligator clips and aluminum foil. He super-glued a digital clock onto the dashboard and rigged up a push-button horn.
He didn’t even seem to mind the protruding spring that kept ripping the backs of his shirts or having to straddle the sagging front seat to see over the steering wheel.
When he bought it for $200, it had nearly 200,000 miles on it. He drove it for about three years, which included two dozen 100-mile trips to San Francisco and back.
During that time, our newer car went through several starters, a radiator and a set of tires,; meanwhile, the limo needed only an occasional air filter. Eventually, Barry sold it for $400—twice what he had paid for it.
Thinking about the limo reminds me of how sometimes people think of themselves as beaten up, ugly and junky. Not much more than a pile of rust held together by bolts and duct tape.
But God doesn’t see those who belong to him that way.
I take that back. Actually, he does see us that way, just as we are. The Bible says God remembers that “we are but dust.” However, if Christ has redeemed us, if we are his, that makes all the difference.
Because we’re his, he doesn’t leave us as we are, all beaten up and junky. But he doesn’t merely patch us together and add a few makeshift improvements using alligator clips and aluminum foil.
That is because he’s not about “making do,” or even making us better. Instead, God is out to make us new.
In a way, it’s like taking a “limo” and turning it into a “Lightning.”
Nancy Kennedy is the author of “Move Over, Victoria – I Know the Real Secret,” “Girl on a Swing,” and her latest book, “Lipstick Grace.” She can be reached at 352-564-2927, Monday through Thursday, or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.