Saturday, August 2, 2008

A Vision of Excellence

“Dad, come take a look.”

I stared down at the curved reflection of my face on the red fender and smiled. For the last two hours I had washed every inch of my truck. I had swept out the cab, polished the dashboard, washed every window inside and out, even scrubbed off every bit of tar and bug guts I could find. As I stepped back and observed my work, I had to admit I felt a little proud.

My dad emerged from the garage and stared at the little red pickup. The ex-Marine and Illinois State Police Captain was currently managing a car dealership. His running joke with his detailers was that they better have the cars clean enough for him to inspect every inch in a pair of white gloves (actually, it wasn’t a joke, he really did that). He may not have had the white gloves on but at that moment he was definitely in inspection mode.

“Well son, it looks pretty good, but…”

I knew what was coming, and my pride quickly fizzled.

Forty five minutes later, I had finally touched up all the spots he had found, then he started me on waxing. My morning activity ended up taking the better part of my Saturday, a valuable commodity for anyone seventeen years old. By the end I was sun burnt, I was frustrated, and my legs hurt from constantly squatting to reach the low areas (afterward my dad showed me the little stool he always used, revealing it beforehand wouldn’t have been enough fun).

However, at the end of the day, I had to admit that little truck looked beautiful. My dad had a vision of what that truck could be and it exceeded anything I had in mind. I may not have liked most of the process but I couldn’t see where it was going and he did. I stood pondering these things and admiring that bright red pickup; and felt a hand on my shoulder. My dad was still staring at the truck, but his face was no longer in inspection mode. He was smiling.

“That’s my boy.”

“I will bring that group through the fire
and make them pure.
I will refine them like silver
and purify them like gold.
They will call on my name,
and I will answer them.
I will say, ‘These are my people,’
and they will say, ‘The Lord is our God.’” Zechariah 13:9