My father drove an old beat-up truck that he affectionately referred to as Ol’ Red Eye. I never quite understood his attachment to, what appeared to be nothing more than a rickety heap of nuts and bolts; faded red with chipped paint, cracked glass, and an old torn up seat. However, some of the best childhood memories I have are of the tender moments I spent anxiously waiting by the window for that old battered truck to announce dad’s arrival as it bounced its way down the weathered driveway.
I can recall the countless hours dad spent over the years, meticulously washing that old truck. I scarcely saw the point, considering it never looked any better when he had finished than when he began. In fact, the dirt helped cover up some of the “ugly”. Dad, however, with all of his wisdom saw something I did not...
Every year it was that old truck that escorted our family into the Rocky Mountains of Montana to find a Christmas tree and, ironically, it was Christmas when dad finally revealed the mystery behind his adoration for the old truck. He shared the story of the night Ol’ Red Eye went “Truckin’ With Santa”. As I recall, the story went something like this…
Once upon a time, many years ago…
Old Red Eye sat for sale on a used car lot. His paint, once a brilliant red, had been bleached and faded in the sun. His smooth sleek frame had been chipped and dented from years of hard work and his windshield, once crystal clear, was now enveloped by random cracks.
Day in and day out, Red Eye sat on the lot with an advertisement scribbled across his windshield that read, $1,000. The old truck watched through cracked headlights as newer, more modern cars and trucks were bought and sold from the lot. Months past, winter turned into spring and the lot owner, sick of seeing the old truck, erased a zero from the price on the glass… $100.
Summer welcomed quite a crowd of customers but none of them were interested in Red Eye. In fact, few of them even noticed the little truck. The days rolled by, summer turned into fall, and Red Eye remained. Anxious to make a sale, the lot owner erased another zero from the advertised price on the windshield. Surely, someone would buy the old truck for a mere $10… but nobody did.
The leaves fell to the ground, the days grew colder, and the arrival of winter was welcomed by snowfall. Red Eye began to feel very bad. There he sat, unnoticed and unwanted for a scrappy $10 while other, nicer looking cars and trucks found new homes for Christmas. Disgusted, the lot owner wiped the $10 price from the glass and wrote in bold letters…
IF YOU WANT THIS TRUCK…TAKE IT!!!
Embarrassed and humiliated, Red Eye remained on the lot for free while other cars and trucks sold for thousands of dollars. He reminisced about a time in his life when he, too, was valued by others. Heartbroken and disappointed, Red Eye longed for those days. Time passed and before long he was moved to a new spot near the back of the lot next to an old dumpster. Things seemed hopeless to Red Eye until one day in December…
A group of carolers strolled by on the street and the little truck grew excited. He realized it was Christmas Eve! He couldn’t help but remember all the times he had brought home Christmas trees and hauled carolers around town, spreading the Christmas spirit in celebration of the season. Red Eye gazed at the warm glow of the Christmas lights across the street and sweet memories of past holidays filled his cab as he drifted off to sleep.
Suddenly, there was a screech and a clatter! Red Eye, startled awake by the commotion, lit his headlights to the most unbelievable sight! There, heaped in the dumpster, were twelve reindeer and buried in the side was a severely damaged sleigh. Several wrapped presents, balls, dolls, and other toys were scattered about in the snow.
It couldn’t be! Red Eye attempted to focus through the frost on his headlights. It was! Santa had missed the roof of a nearby house and crashed, right into the dumpster at his side! The little truck watched in amazement as four elves and Santa Claus, himself, climbed from the wreckage. Red Eye observed Santa and his crew as they stared in awe, shocked by the demolished remains of the sleigh.
“Well, thank goodness for airbags!” said one of the elves.
“Seatbelts too!” said another.
“At least it’s already in the trash!” said a third in jest… but nobody laughed.
Santa stood nearby, stroking his beard in thought. It was apparent that the sleigh would not be operational. Realizing the severity of the situation, everyone stood somberly, searching for a solution. Suddenly, one of the elves noticed Red Eye and read aloud the words carelessly scribbled across his windshield, “IF YOU WANT THIS TRUCK… TAKE IT!!!”
All the attention shifted to Red Eye and the solution seemed obvious. “We want him! Right Santa?” queried one of the elves.
“Indeed we do!” replied Santa.
Red Eye straightened himself up the best he could and shook the snow from his cab. The elves hurried about, gathering the scattered presents, and the little truck smiled with pride as they were loaded in his bed. The elves hooked up the reindeer and, at last, they were ready for take-off. Finally, Santa and his crew piled into the cab and away they went!
The little truck, once again, experienced the joy of the holidays as he worked through the night, making deliveries to boys and girls around the world. Tears of joy drained from his headlights and turned to icicles in the cold. At last, Red Eye was happy.
So, legend has it… he saved Christmas for thousands of children and Santa saved Red Eye by giving him to dad, a man with a passion for old trucks. And together… they lived happily ever after.
As I reflect on my childhood and the story my father told about that old truck, the “moral” is evident. I thank God for blessing my life with a father who thought to utilize a unique opportunity to teach such a profound Christ-like principle. All parents teach their children how to walk, talk, and tie their shoes. Words cannot express how grateful I am that I was blessed with a father who taught me how to see... Red Eye was a Dodge classic. When dad looked at the old battered truck, he saw the possibilities.
Looking back now, I realize that there have been many times throughout my life when my father viewed me, much as he did Ol’ Red Eye. He valued me, not for what I was at the moment, but for what he knew I had the potential to become. He never focused on my “chips, cracks, or dents”. He willingly overlooked all of the faults, shortcomings, mistakes, and weaknesses that seemed so evident, and encouraged me to cultivate the passion, strength, God-given talents and unique abilities within. He taught me to embrace my divine nature.
I have often wondered how I could fail to "see" Cammie for ten years. Why - when I looked at her - did I only see the cracks in the glass, random dents, faded and chipped paint? Why did I focus on her "flaws" for so long? For ten years, what I saw was based exclusively on what I expected to see... There was something terribly wrong with her. She wasn't like the rest of my boys. She was weird, she didn't behave according to my expectations, she wasn't a "normal" boy... she wasn't a boy at all. How could I have failed to see it? How could I have possibly missed the "moonwalking bear"? How could I have failed to see something that was so obvious from the very beginning?
I am finally starting to understand the answer that I received as I humbled myself in prayer during the "awakening" of our journey. The answer was simple but profound; the impression was clear... "Love this child, even as I have loved you."
The Lord recognizes the potential in each of us. Since we all have imperfections... and each of us will require perfect redemption, he has agreed to assist in our "restoration"... he has promised to make us whole through his unconditional love, grace, and the gift of the atonement. As we come to know and accept Him as our redeemer, our complete restoration will begin to take place.
Psalm 18: 1 – 3
1. I will love thee, O Lord, my strength.
2. The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower.
3. I will call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from mine enemies.
I have come to realize, what we see is often limited by what we are looking for. This is exemplified in my personal life by failing to recognize the beauty of Ol' Red Eye, and demonstrated through an inability to notice the moonwalking bear...
Sometimes our expectations can distract us from the truth. Cammie has always been there... the same child that she is today. However, one fundamental thing HAS changed, I am finally aware that she exists. I have finally learned to appreciate her for WHO she is... and this has made all the difference. "Love this child, even as I have loved you". Quite simply...
"Look with your eyes... SEE with your HEART."
I love this and it brought tears to my eyes. What matters most is raising good people who value themselves and others. I have to think our journey happens for this reason- we are ready for it and we are able.ReplyDelete
Thank you for giving me so much hope!
I have come to realize that "what I saw" was limited by what I was "looking for". Just as the moonwalking bear escaped my attention when I first watched this youtube video, I failed to see my own child. She's always been there - the same child that she is today... However, one thing HAS changed... I am finally "aware" that she exists.
We often only see what we want to see. How fortunate for Cammie, that the veil was lifted from your eyes, in time to save her from a life of emotional pain and isolation. I only wish my own mother had been able to see the girl in me, instead of the sissy that she feared I would become, if she allowed me to freely express my true gender. That immature and selfish concern for her own public image, over the emotional security of her children, kept me an unhappy prisoner in my own body while I was growing up, and well into adulthood.
Thanks for being there for your daughter, when she needed you!
The moon-walking bear represents unconditional love...perhaps the most elusive bear of all. When we discover it, it becomes a life saver, an eye opener, a peace maker, and changes our heart toward every person we encounter. Only when we look for the bear...when we concentrate on its existence, when we develop a passion to become the bear ourselves, will we be truly complete. When we truly understand Christ's willing sacrifice, we will grow to be much more attuned to seeing the moon-walking bear.ReplyDelete
There are moon-walking bears everywhere. It just takes patience and understanding to see them.ReplyDelete
You my dear are simply amazing! If you even tire of Nursing and Organ Music, you could easily make a comfortable living as a motivational speaker/writer. I can so see that.ReplyDelete
Ole Red eye, well with some work, that could be a college fund for Cammie. Those things hearken back to "better days" and "slower ways" of the distant past. I remember a time when those were bright, shiny and newish at the drive in movies and the car hops. You know, the drive in restaurants that for the most part don't exist anymore, well except for Sonic. Rolling up to one of those wearing a hoop skirt, bobby socks and roller skates to take orders and bring out food. I didn't know how good I had it at the time. Frankly, I think the love it gets and got, the memories it shared and the symbolism are worth even more. Since I know he wanders through now and again I'm going to say "Way to go Dad!" if I may be so forward. You done good, and the world is a much better place because of you.
Anyway Christina, I love the way you right - pun intended - and I think not about how long it took you to see your daughter, but the blessing of life you've given her. "There are none so blind . . ." Thankfully it's not the time she lost, but the time she gained since you let yourself see, she will remember most. Trust me, I know.
I think of what my life could have been, how it would have turned out, had it not been for my blind father. But I chose instead to focus on the blessings of strength, love and patience (among the many, many blessings) my Mom shared with me. Took me much, much, longer to reach myself and so, much more pain, but I rest easy knowing Cammie is going to miss it. My Mom could and did see her beautiful daughter and encouraged me to survive and thrive in the ways she could. Were it up to her, I'd have been able to get this problem fixed back when I was five.
Like you, she could see, and you know, in the end, that's good enough for me! Thanks Christina, you are awesome! You are a great Mom, and I should know, I have one too.