Give Me Oil in My Ford; Keep Me Trucking. On the importance of stewardship.
When I was a sophomore in college, I attempted to change universities. With disastrous results. And my mother came to help me race across two states to get back to my own college and sign in before they cancelled my scholarship. (It was, uh, before you could do all this online. We stood in lines. And did things on papers, which were filed in crazy big file rooms. And on punch cards for big computers. No kidding). So you had to get there before the line closed down.
And I was so grateful that we made it. But my 21-year-old foolishness was not without a casualty. My beloved VW SuperBeetle, “Buffy.” She died on the outskirts of Bryan, Texas, while we piled into mom’s rental and raced to sign the forms and claim the check. We made it, at 4:30 or so, on a Friday. 30 minutes to spare. Whew.
And when we got back to Buffy, the price became more clear. She was not to be resurrected. Not repaired. Because it had not occurred to me, on a 600+ mile trip, to put oil in the car. (After all, it was just one day of driving…one really, really long one).
And my estranged father, who had purchased my VW and rebuilt it, was not pleased to inform me that Volkswagens don’t take water. They are, apparently, only cooled by…oil. Oops.
He gave me his own SuperBeetle, and bought his wife a new car. And we all lived happily after ever. But it was a hard-earned lesson; I had truly loved that car.
And many of you, right now, are shaking your heads at 21-year-old impulsive college girls, attempting to be led by the Spirit, who make mistakes and fry engines.
But I have a question for you. What, in your life, are you failing to maintain?
If you have a wife, she needs constant affirmation. Expressions of caring. Understanding. Listening. Validating and respecting her point of view, even if you disagree. It may feel superfluous, ridiculous and unnecessary. But it’s what cools her engine, and keeps her from imploding.
If you are blessed to have children, they need constant monitoring. Again, affirmation. Time together. Laughter. Constant correction. Teaching. Discipline. Consequences. All wrapped up in a great big bow of love and acceptance. It keeps their hearts from freezing up, and helps them make the journey.
And if you are blessed to have a husband, I can promise you that his emotional needs are different from yours. While you are busy expressing caring, understanding, respect and validation, he needs your trust. Your appreciation. Your acceptance. And yes, even your admiration. (Just ask John Gray, who wrote a book about it). It’s the oxygen he breathes. And it keeps him from throwing a rod. Or whatever cars (and guys) do.
And I wonder why we, who are all so careful (once we grow up) to care for our homes, yards and automobiles, refuse to put in the gas and oil that could keep our relationships running smoothly for a lifetimes?
And what might be available to use if we actually maintained our relationships with each other?
The oil of joy. The gasoline of acceptance. The spark of communication..
My Volkswagen Bug was replaceable. Almost.
Our families aren’t.