I remember my Dad’s 1958 Chevy…

paul-mowen-2bTwice it was lost in Chicago snow. It was worse because it was white.

On one occasion, during a blizzard in 1967 – in what they called a white out – my dad had to park the car and walk home. It’s hard to image, but the snow was so bad he couldn’t tell exactly where he had left it! The car was missing for 2 weeks, buried under snow. There had been a big dump of snow, but then the snow ploughs came past and managed to bury it further!

On another occasion it was buried in snow next to our house. This time the battery went dead and my father decided to switch cars.

After six months my mother demanded the ‘58 be removed. She thought of it as an eyesore, likely to attract vermin, and choking up the driveway.

My dad found a buyer, a fellow named Ralph. He was a very interesting fellow to me. He was a quiet man, very humble, and I discovered later, quite poor, part negro, part Hispanic, and very glad to get the car at such a good price. He gave my dad $10 for it.

paul-mowen-2cThe trouble was that no matter how hard Ralph and his friend tried, it would not start. They came up with a plan however…

They hooked the car up with a rope and towed it out our driveway towards the 103rd Street Bridge, with Ralph at the wheel… We followed in our own car. The bridge was over railway tracks and was shaped like a huge arch. At the start of the bridge, Ralph’s friend got his car behind Ralph, and bumper to bumper, pushed the ‘58 up the bridge at speed. Then coming down the bridge, Ralph slid it into gear, and with a puff of smoke… it started! That image is still in my mind almost 50 years later!

Last time I saw Ralph at 103rd he smiled, waved to us and continued driving away. The last time I heard, my dad proudly said that Ralph had clocked it to over 100,000 miles…

Why tell this story?

Deep in my soul I know this story is about redemption. It demonstrates how one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. It’s about seeing something of value in what is discarded, neglected, passed over or rejected. It’s about finding something beautiful in a thing. It’s about a resurrection.

It has been often said that we live in a throwaway society. We too quickly replace things.

I am grateful that God never threw me away, even when I was neglected, trashed, rejected and dirty. He saw something of my potential. I could live again. I have had an experience of personal resurrection through faith in Jesus—just like my dad’s ‘58 Chev. And the pilot of my machine is not Ralph—it’s God himself!

About Paul Mowen

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