I think the time leading up to Easter (whether you call it Lent or not) is all about the odd truth that first impressions are not always right. I don’t mean to be sacrilegious, but I thought about this at the car wash this morning.
Yes, that long greenhouse shaped white structure on the left is the car wash. Yes, that endless, pock-marked pavement is the lane leading around to the garage door-like back of the greenhouse.
Yes, even the color is lost in the rusty, cementy, pavementy feel of this old place. Yes, there’s no appeal in the block letter font, or the fading painted metal.
But let them wash your car.
Young people in red shirts are waiting at the garage door entrance. One asks which wash you want and prints a slip for you from a little machine against the wall of the long white tube. Behind you, others are already moving from sending the previous car down the automatic track to be soaped, soaked, and brushed, to invading your car with vacuums, hoses and scrub brushes, before sending it down the automatic track to be soaked, soaped and brushed.
As I spied from the window this morning, I saw that before my car even got to the end of the automatic track, a young girl in a red shirt hurried up the dripping track to meet it, caught and opened the door in motion, efficiently leaped inside, and immediately began wiping the dash and cleaning the windows. Seconds later, two more red shirts descended with towels in both hands, drying with the rhythm of a machine, before the car ever rolled to a stop. Another girl jumped into the back of the car. At least four of them were working at once, as one, a blur of red on and in and around my car.
I’m really glad I didn’t let my first impressions (or the fear that I might be mugged or ambushed) keep me from pulling into the Rocket. Besides being a great value, they are a great example of team work, fast, friendly and fun.
(Besides-but I’m hopelessly biased-they are a prototype of all the reasons I fell in love with Elkhart.)
So, this morning, standing by the window watching, I thought of Easter.
Being nailed to a cross, drops of blood, a cold stone grave… these are not the things normally associated with excellence. That those drops of blood could change the lives of people thousands of years later in 2015 is perhaps the most unexpected possible ending to any plot ever, if we wouldn’t be spoiled by having heard the story before.
May this Easter season shock you with the 2015-relevant power of the story of Christ!