It was like Christmas and my birthday all wrapped up into one. I stood there and the only thing missing was the ribbon and bow on top. I thought to myself, "Things like this just don't happen to ordinary people." It was like something out of a movie. It was a dream come true. All I could say was "thank you."
It was a year ago this week that I received the gift of a 2009 Ford Mustang GT convertible.
I'd been talking about wanting a car like this for the last 30 years. My first two cars were Mustangs. I loved them and didn't realize how lucky I was to have them. I dreamed of having another one. Every once in a while I'd mention it but the practicalities of life always stood in the way. There was college to pay for, a wedding and new life begun, a family on the way, and a new home with a mortgage to consider.
So Ford Escorts and mini-vans became my chariots of choice. Meanwhile I gave my life to serving others through the ministry. I had the best life had to offer and I couldn't complain. My Toyota Prius got me where I needed to go. It was a good, practical car. Yet every once in a while, I'd dream out loud.
A year ago an old friend called and asked me if I wanted to go for a ride. He's a car guy and he needed someone to ride shotgun for a trip to New York to pick up a salvage car. We arrived in Poughkeepsie, pulled into the lot, and right away my eyes went to this beautiful candy apple red Mustang convertible.
Like that scene in the movie, "Miracle on 34th Street," where young Natalie Wood tells her mom to stop the car in front of a beautiful home, I said, "Look! That's my dream car!" My friend got out and said, "Wait here." A minute later he came out and said, "take it for a ride."
As he handed me the keys, he said, "I've been listing to you talk about that stupid Mustang forever. Well you have always been there for me. When my mom died, when I got sick, when other terrible things happened in my life, I called you and you came. You always told me that this is what friends do."
"You are my friend," he said. "Today I want you to have this gift as a ‘thank you' for all you have done for so many people over the years, but especially as a thank you for being my friend when I needed one."
In the book of Proverbs it says, "Cast your bread upon the waters and after many days it will come back to you." As people of faith, most of us don't do what we do to receive a reward. Yet God reminds us that when we share his love and kindness with those we meet along the way, it always makes a difference and it often comes back to bless us. So continue to do what you do. Be a blessing and you will be blessed!
The Rev. Cal Lord is pastor of Central Baptist Church of Westerly.