It’s not always the big events or programs. Sometimes it is, but most of the time around here, it is just the everyday conversations and interactions that end up as uniquely, imperfectly divine.
Jay bought this old van. It’s big and rusty and puffs of dust exhale every time you sit on the seats. When we (he) got it, the ceiling felt was falling down around the passengers, and everything rattled an achy, brittle moan as we drove along. I was unimpressed, but Jay saw potential where I just saw a pit.
Truth is, we are always hauling extra kids around, and Jay – ever resourceful as he is – thought this inexpensive beauty would be helpful.
So, the van has been parked in our driveway, the site of its transformation. Our older kids have been working with their dad to redo it – seat covers, new ceiling lining, fixing the rust, and eventually they plan to paint it a lovely silver hue (or so I’m told).
Although I never thought I’d say “beautiful” in the same sentence as that van, I need to admit this: That van has shown me that even really ugly old things can make really beautiful moments…
Because, every time Jay works out in the driveway on that vehicle, neighbors stop by. They stand around, talking about family and work and kids. Life is shared, and friendships deepen.
Then, there are the kids. They climb around the van, over it and in it as Jay works. They laugh and chatter about school that day and plans for the van. The older ones learn something new about tools and vehicle repair. They try to help, but usually they just draw pictures on the van’s dusty sides and bounce the basketball off it (can’t hurt anything anyway). They enjoy each other and learn from each other.
So, I’m seeing the van with new eyes, maybe even a bit of respect.
It’s un-beautiful as ever, yet in all its humble rustiness, it lends itself to the mission of this lifestyle. It’s made us more approachable, and it’s brought about some great conversations. It has the same heartbeat, somewhere under all that dust.
Now, I see more clearly that opening our home is excellent – but sometimes it’s even more effective to meet people out on the driveway.
So, be approachable. Make it easy to be your friend. It may be an old van or something entirely different, but look for the potential opportunities to love the people around you. Share life, and share your faith in natural ways, as you go.
And, don’t overlook the common, everyday, slightly rusty tools God can use to build relationships, for His glory.