Sunday, October 11, 2009

Here are the keys.

My young family was scheduled to head to the California coast for a nine-day trip which was mostly work-related. It was June and the heat rose in waves off the Interstate 10 asphalt. As we made preparations, I kept worrying about the first afternoon of travel.

Our son's last day of first grade was to end at noon and we planned to drive off across the desert in 110 degree heat. Our 8-year-old Ford station wagon had shown signs of wear and tear and I was growing concerned about it overheating. Long before cell phones, a person could get stuck out on the side of a highway for hours before someone stopped to help. I knew. It had happened to friends. One man lifted the hood of his disabled car and waited as hundreds -- perhaps thousands -- of vehicles passed him on that crowded freeway.

I felt that we didn't have any choice but to leap out in faith and start the drive that last day of school. We had booked a room in San Bernardino that night and were due up in the Monterey area the next afternoon. I took care of what maintenance we could do and hoped for the best.

Those were our circumstances on Sunday, a few days before we left. Church services went on asusual that day, but afterward I was approached by Mark and Sue, a couple in our church. They asked about our trip, including a question about our old car. I told them the plan and they looked at me with smiles on their faces. "Would you accept it if we lent our our van?" Sue asked.

I was taken aback. They had a brand-new conversion van, loaded with every option you could imagine. "We want you to take it," added Mark.

A few days later, our little family climbed into a beautiful, cool, spacious van. The kids all fell asleep in the back. Cathy joined them. I set the cruise control, sipped on a large glass of iced tea and listened to the stereo as we crossed the desert.

It wasn't the last time we experienced the generosity of that wonderful couple. Mark is in heaven now, but I smile fondly when I think of his kindness to us.

I'm preaching on generosity this month at Stone Ridge. Could you help me? Tell us about someone whose generosity you have personally experienced.


C. Beth said...

I think I may vaguely remember that.... What a cool thing for them to do.

When The Engineer was in the hospital, we were nearing the end of December. My car inspection was due at the end of the month, but I had to get some warranty work done, to take care of a warning light that would have made me fail the inspection.

I sent out an email asking if someone could take my car in for me, to get the warranty work done. I just didn't know if I was going to be able to get it done, and honestly, just thinking about it was stressing me out. Our friend Kevin volunteered, and took the car for a few hours while I took our other car to the hospital.

When I got home, he'd not only gotten the warranty work done, but he'd also taken it to Jiffy Lube to get the oil changed and to have the state inspection done. It cost some money, which of course was generous of him. But mostly I was just so touched that he'd gone above and beyond what I'd asked, and had taken care of something that was stressing me out. It's one of my best memories from that time!

Joyce said...

In Nov. 1963 Bob had emergency surgery and had to be in the hospital more than 2 weeks. I wanted to be at the hospital as much as I could but we had 3 girls, age 11,13,and 14 and they needed someone to keep them in school and take care of their needs. My sister,Jewell lived 35 miles away and also had a family. 3 children in school. 13,16 and 18 and a 3 1/2 year old. She insisted on moving into our house with her 3 1/2 yr old and taking care of our girls needs and keeping them in school and her husband kept her children in school.It was really an act of love and one we would never forget.

Julie said...

In March or April of this year my car broke down and needed $2000 of repairs. It was an old car and would most likely need a new transmission soon as well, so we decided to buy a new-used car instead of doing the repairs. Some friends in San Francisco offered to sell us theirs at a good price if we could find a way to come pick it up, so we booked a one way flight for two weeks out. We weren't in a dire situation, but having only one car for two weeks would have been very inconvenient. I know a lot of people do it full time, but I was certainly dreading it. Some friends of ours were trying to sell their car and graciously volunteered it to us for two weeks. It was such a trusting gesture and we were really grateful.

It's always incredible how people come together to help in a time of tragedy, but it's also impressive how people are there to help in a time of inconvenience. It's really great to know that help is there, even if it's not an emergency!