Of Car Washes & New Binders

July 17, 2008 | No comments yet

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By:  Staci Stallings


A friend and I were talking.  She was telling me how annoyed she got one day last week.  The story went like this.  Monday was a beautiful day, so she decided to get a car wash.  Her white car shone in the bright summer sun—clean down to the white wall tires.  She was so proud of it.  Then came Tuesday.


Tuesday was a strange day.  It started off sunny, but as the day went on, clouds started popping up as only clouds in West Texas can do.  There was a light, 30-second shower about noon.  An hour later the light shower was not a shower but a raging thunderstorm—the kind that very closely resembles a Florida hurricane complete with sideways trees and that awful green-gray sky color.


By the time she left work, there were puddles filled with mud everywhere.  So much for her nice white car.


She told me, “I was so annoyed.  I was like, ‘Ugh. I just washed the thing. Why did this have to happen so soon?’”


I told her that reminded me of a story I’d read in Beth Moore’s Feathers in my Nest.  Ms. Moore tells the story of her daughter who was a cycle-student.  You know, the kind of student who wants to do well but is easily distracted by the various inherent distractions woven into today’s high school world.  She would get more and more distracted until the day she got a really bad grade.  Then, resolving to do better, she would go to the store, get a new binder and new notebook paper. 


The binder was a symbol that it didn’t matter what had gone before, today was a new day.


I said, “That sounds like your car wash.”


In the Catholic faith we have something called Confession.  You go to the priest and confess your sins, those times you have not been as loving as you could’ve been, those times that for whatever reason you made a mistake for which you are truly sorry.  Ideally, you confess each and every sin you’ve made since your last confession. 


I told my friend that her car wash is like Confession.  We don’t go to Confession with some fairy tale belief that now we are clean and we will be forever.  No, we’re pretty sure even when we walk out that there will be a mud puddle waiting for us in the near future, and if one doesn’t get us, we surely will make one ourselves.


The good news is, God knows all about the mud puddles and the dropping grades.  He knows we are not perfect, and that’s okay.  What we have to remember is that when our “car” gets dirty and when our “grades” start slipping, we can go for a car wash, we can get a new binder.


Bet you didn’t know God was in the car wash and new binder sales business.

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