We live in a very quiet neighborhood. Late one evening I was listening to some music when I heard a loud crash on the street. It took me a while to realize what had happened. Earlier that evening my wife wanted me to go to the store to get some soft drinks. It seemed like this would be a good time to let my teenage daughter get in a little practice driving. I sent her to the store with her older brother riding shotgun. She took my truck. I settled back to enjoy the music.
At dinner earlier that evening my oldest son was speaking admiringly of the truck. It is a little four-wheel drive Ford Explorer and the kids knew I enjoyed having it. It is the nicest car I have ever owned.
I said, “Guys, my heart is not set on that car. I like it but it is just rusting metal and it is a depreciating item. It won’t last forever. Never set your heart on anything that is temporary.”
I had no idea how prophetic my advice was that night.
The thud on the street was followed by a commotion upstairs and then the whole family pouring down the steps led by thirteen year old Chuck who shouted, “Dad, Dad, Holly wrecked your car.”
My heart sank and my mind was flooded with conflicting thoughts. Was anyone hurt? Who else was involved? I ran to the door with a racing heart and in that instant a message came clearly to my spirit like a voice in my heart: “Here is your chance. You have always looked for ways to show Holly that she is precious to you. Here is a unique opportunity to show her what you really love. How you react now is something that she will probably never forget.”
To my surprise the accident had not occurred on the street, but right in my own driveway. And my fears about damage to the property of other people melted when I saw that the collision was with our other car, the family van. In her inexperience Holly had confused the brakes and accelerator. In an instant both of my cars were wrecked. Holly was unhurt physically but when I reached her she was crying softly and saying over and over again, “Oh, Dad, I’m sorry, I’m sorry Dad, I know how much you love this car.” I wrapped her in my arms and she cried and my heart melted for her.
Later that week an adult friend stopped by and asked what happened to my truck. I swore her to secrecy and then told her what happened. Her eyes moistened and she said, “That happened to me when I was a girl. I borrowed my Dad’s car and ran into a log that had fallen across the road. I was able to drive the car home, but it was totaled. When I got home my Dad dragged me from the car, knocked me to the ground and began to kick me.” Over forty years later the pain of that rejection still moved her to tears. It was a deep wound on her soul.
I remembered how tender-hearted Holly had been the night she wrecked the car and how vulnerable she was at that moment and I breathed a prayer of thanks to God for His gentle reminder that night. Someday years from now when Holly thinks back on her life and she remembers me I want her to know that I loved her a thousand times more than all my earthly possessions put together.
I repaired the van, but the wrinkle in the hood of my truck is still there today. Every day it reminds me of the really priceless things in my life. I don’t mind having damage to my truck, but I don’t want to be responsible for damage to my daughter’s heart.