Saturday, January 24, 2009

Broken and Scratched

Are some car washes safe for trucks, or all of them?  Never even thought to question it when we lived in Colorado and I wanted to surprise Craig with a shiny clean truck.  We hadn't been married even a year, Tess was a baby, he was working full time and going to aero- tech school nights.  We were broke, trying to live together in an understanding way, having fun and having hard times both.  Remember those days?  He had a really gorgeous, custom, black Silverado pickup. Drove it proudly, looked yummy in it!  Because he was commuting long distances to work and school, he drove the VW rabbit and left me the truck.  One day I had the bright idea to take it to the car wash.  Getting the huge tires lined up right presented some trouble, but thought everything was OK, put it in neutral and let it grab and pull me through.  As soon as the big brush unfolded I heard this groaning that made my heart shake.  The big knuckle on the elbow of the brush started scraping on the front bumper, grinding a gash all the way to the rear bumper.  I couldn't stop it, get out or get help.  It had to finish on its own.  On the other side, I got out to assess the damage.  It was bad!  A 2 inch deep, 3 inch wide, 10? foot long wound on that beautiful black skin....

Craig was going to be meeting me in just a few minutes; not only was my surprise ruined -I was going to be in big trouble!   Not knowing if it would be a tirade, maybe a spanking, or a brutal "Stupid WOMAN" from him, I was cringing and cowering.   

He came, he saw, he was silent.  Calm even.  Then he asked quietly if I was alright and how did that happen?  No underlying daggers.  I was weeping in shame and mortification not expecting the bucketload of grace and the armful of mercy.  This became a cornerstone of the dynamics of our marriage.  A pattern.  Good ground to grow trust, intimacy and love.   Since then, I've always been able to run straight into his arms, instead of away, no matter how ghastly whatever I've done has been.  No shame.  No fear.  

Never one time in all of these 20 years has he ever mentioned this incident.  He will be surprised when he reads it, for he probably forgot about it.  

Last week, the windshield was icy on the car.  He leaves for work at 4:30 and was probably in a hurry.  Came in, filled a pitcher with warm water used it to de-ice and left the remaining water in it outside.  It was freezing that day.  I found my favorite pitcher, which is irreplaceable, with the bottom cracked off.  I was so mad at his carelessness, mad he had used that particular one, just plain mad.  He was going to get it when he got home......I had ammunition!    

As soon as he got home and the conversation started.....the picture of that gash in his truck flashed before my eyes.   I started doing 'transition labor' type breathing, bit my tongue,
told him I was sad about it but had a plan to use it out in my garden this summer to plant some flowers in.   He smiled his dimpled smile, I think he knew how much I was struggling.  

 It will be a little graceful bright spot, a marker to remember grace, mercy, love, forgiveness and compassion.  When we are young, these are just words.  As we mature, they have texture.  They have become part of the fabric of our lives, the strong threads, graceful threads.    

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