Two years ago our wonderful neighbors - the ones with kids the same age as ours - sold their house to a young bartender named Tony. It's a five bedroom house. And yes, Tony took in roommates. I braced myself for sleepless nights of long parties, of beer cans in the yard and a steady flow of girls. But I've been very pleasantly surprised. They are quiet. Sometimes we go for weeks without seeing anyone. The cars (all new, flashy sportscars) come and go, but I never see anyone. For the most part, he's a great neighbor. There are only two things with which I have a problem.
First of all, Tony didn't mow the lawn all summer. Every week as I mowed our lawn I would grumble to myself. (And I always made sure that I mowed around 9:00 a.m. on a Saturday! A little passive aggression. Sorry.) Oh, our kids loved it! They would run to his yard and flop down and laugh as I called out, "Where's Buddy? I don't see Buddy! Is Princess in the house or did Tony's lawn eat her?" (The giggling always gave them away.) It was from one of these flops that I'm sure Princess picked up the tick. Tony finally mowed TWICE in one week during October. Just before the grass stopped growing. At least I know that he CAN mow now. He has no excuse this summer.
Another gripe lately has been the wrecked Lexus parked in the street in front of his house. He must have had it towed here. The passenger door is caved in and the window busted out (there is a big sheet of cardboard stuck in the door to shield it from the rain). The windshield has a huge spiderweb crack starting from the passenger side and looks like it could collapse any minute. The back two tires are almost completely shredded. It is embarrassing.
Princess and Buddy are fascinated by the car. At least once a week they ask to go look at "the wreck". For some reason, their fascination centers on the fact that it is so nice on the inside. They peer in and say, "Look at that! It's so pretty! Nothing's wrong on the inside!" I would mumble something about how Tony should get it fixed so that it would look nicer on the street and then we'd go back to our yard.
Tuesday brought such a wonderful day! After school the kids and I spent time in the front yard. I trimmed back my rose bushes and the kids ran up and down the street. Princess came spinning up to me. "Kate and I decided that we know why God let Tony keep his car like that."
"Oh?" I asked, wondering what God had to do with a beat-up Lexus.
"Yeah!" she chirped. "It's perfect on the inside, but it's yucky on the outside. God did that to remind us that it doesn't matter what we look like on the outside. He wants us to be pretty on the inside." And she danced away.
So often I look for God to send me messages written in calligraphy, wrapped in fine linen paper and sealed with a wax seal. Or, more often than not, I think that God only speaks to me directly through His words in the Bible. Princess found a message wrapped in crumpled steel and soggy cardboard. I am humbled. I am delighted. Once again, God has taught me a beautiful lesson through one of my children.
Thank you, God, for the broken down Lexus. And for the little eyes who saw the pristine leather interior.