Getting The Brush Off
It could only happen to Kevin. That was my initial thought when he was telling me the story. It was like a repeat of past experiences when he expected one thing and got the opposite. To understand the significance of the story let me tell you a little about Kevin. Kevin and I were friends in our teen years. Kevin had a car and he was our ticket to get to school during my junior year. He was the bridge between riding the bus which nobody liked and getting my own car. After high school we both went our separate ways. I went to college and Kevin joined the Navy. We lost touch with each other for over 40 years. One day Dane Kevin’s brother friended me on Facebook. It wasn’t long after I was talking to Dane and naturally Kevin’s name came up. Surprisingly one day after work there was a message on my machine and it was Kevin. He mentioned that he didn’t know if this was my number but if it was he wanted me to call him.
The phone call that ensued lasted about 2 hours. We talked about what happened to us after we had last seen each other. From two other experiences that I have had re-kindling friendships after many years apart unexpected things happen. I’ve found that even though we are much older we basically haven’t changed. Oh we have changed with the experiences that life has dealt us but we are still the same people. What I am trying to say is in my experience it is easy to find the things that you originally liked about someone even after years have passed. Kevin’s likeable traits included the fact that he is responsible, loyal, friendly, and he can laugh at himself. These traits served him well in his position with the City Water Department after his stint in the Navy.
We’ve talked quite a lot about his many years at the Water Department. We’ve talked about technical things involved and people that he worked with. The most humorous thing that he told me was that it seemed that whatever the situation he was the one that received the unexpected surprise. For example if the office was getting gifts from the boss his got the one that was broken. If they ordered out for lunch his order would be the one missing. If there was a paycheck issue his was the one that was likely to be wrong. It got to a point where Kevin’s boss was feeling sorry for him for the apparent black cloud that seemed to fly over his head.
A little over a week ago I was at an indoor flea market. I got talking to one of the sellers about some of the old record albums that he had. He was a big guy probably like 6 foot 8 and 270 pounds. He was also standing up which strained my neck a little looking up as we talked. I asked him if he knew that Alice Cooper (one of the artists that we talked about) was a Christian? It seemed like such an unlikely scenario that the man who wore wild outfits and had the painted face was now living for the Lord. The seller offered several other former rock stars who were now Christians. He seemed to have an enormous amount of knowledge on the subject. That is when I asked him the ultimate question “Are you a Christian?” Immediately his answer was “NO.” As I tried to witness about the Lord to him he was seemingly trying to find ways to interrupt, dispute, or simply complain about how the world and his situation was. When I handed him my website card he accepted it but I could tell he probably would never use it. I had the feeling that I was getting the brush off.
My friend Kevin had me laughing so hard the other day that I was crying. I had asked him where he would recommend me going to get my car washed. He told me he had always had good luck with Bob and Kay’s Car wash except for one time. Naturally I wanted to hear about the one exception. It was about a year ago that Kevin took his new to him car for a wash. To his happy surprise the car wash wasn’t very busy that day as he was the only one going in! With his next in line service he was thinking about what other errands he needed to do that day. He followed the instructions that the big sign at the place electronically posted which ended with “put your car in neutral and don’t use the brakes.” As he sat there going through the spinning brushes something very strange happened. About halfway through the wash the entire power system shut off. The brushes stopped, the car stopped, the lights went out, and there was Kevin trapped in his car in the midst of brushes.
Sometimes in the middle of a crises instant action is needed. Kevin thought about the situation. What could he do? He couldn’t get out of the car because he was blocked in and he couldn’t try to drive through the wash for fear that his car would be damaged. All he could do was nothing. Sometimes the best thing we can do is nothing. Kevin kept his fears under control. I’m sure the memory of the black cloud days entered his mind. However he was able to not panic and wait for the situation to get better. After about 5 minutes a sudden noise was heard. The lights came on, the brushes started spinning and his car started moving. Within a couple of minutes he was out of the car wash and his car was sparkling clean as though nothing had happened.
I took Kevin’s advice and took my car to Bob and Kay’s. I pulled into a long line unlike Kevin’s experience on that fateful day. After paying at the drive through window I followed the car in front of me and obeyed the instructions. I thought about Kevin’s experience as I went through the wash. When we do something like ride an elevator, go through a car wash, or drive our car we don’t imagine things will go wrong. Usually they don’t and we get the belief that nothing bad can happen. When it does it is so much out of the ordinary that we might panic.
When we talk to people about the Lord we must realize that they may not accept the truth we are sharing The big man at the flea market is a good example. I have learned to throw something out there much like throwing seeds out in a field. The ultimate results are completely out of my control. Many times we will get the brush off treatment because they don’t want to hear about it. Their hearts are hard and not ready for the seeds. At these times we may be tempted to try to do the Lords work and force them to accept it. If we push the issue we could do permanent damage much like what could have happened to Kevin’s car. What we need to do is wait on the Lord to take that seed that was planted and do a good work to soften their hearts. We are not called to produce results. The good Lord is the only one who can change people. Our call is to show the light of Jesus within us. By showing his light we can let him use his power to take their darkness state and transform it into a sparkling clean bright light.