But Peter said, “I don’t have silver or gold, but what I do have, I give you: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, get up and walk!” Acts 3:6
Sometimes it seemed like a parking lot. We have all seen it, but I experienced it. As I have often said, there were certain benefits to growing up urban county. We weren’t country like horses and cows, but we were country like room to run, places to play and cars in the backyard. What? Yup. I know we have all seen yards where there are old cars hanging around the yard. I know each time I drive to Paducah down Route 145 in Southern Illinois I pass a house with an old Capri parked in the yard…permanently. Over the years that I have seen it, weeds and green algae have slowly grown over it. I’m not sure about the story behind the old Capri, but it is there year after year.
Over the years I lived at 6008 Carlton Road, we had several cars parked in our backyard. When my granddaddy Taylor died, we inherited his old Pontiac Sedan. I’m not sure what year it was but it was old…probably the late forties if I were to guess. I know at least for a while it was a runner, but later on it became a sitter. Regardless, it was a great place to play and hide in a good game of hide and seek. This past week I was converting some old family movies to digital so we could watch them again. There is one simply titled, Alston and Leslie Taylor and their children – 1960’s. In the middle of the video there was my daddy, and he was working on the old Pontiac. It was good to see him again. It reminded me what a good man he was.
I have a feeling that there was a reason that he was working on granddaddy’s Pontiac. You see I remember that our main driver, a 1957 Plymouth, blew an engine so it was parked under the tree in the backyard. So, I think Daddy may have been working on the Pontiac so we would have something that would get us from here to there. The Plymouth sat there for quite a while. Motors were expensive and it would be a while before Mama and Daddy could scrape the money together to buy a rebuilt one. I know they eventually did, but until then it was the old Pontiac.
And then there was the Sunbeam. My brother Lee bought a car from somebody and it was quite unusual. It was a British made car and it almost had that James Bond allure about it. I was trying to think how to describe it and simply put, it was cool. Well, it was cool until it quit running. You see, certain cars, and especially British ones, are hard to work on and expensive to repair. Well, somewhere along the road (no pun intended) it died. Rather than bury it, we just parked it the backyard where it became one of the original storage sheds. We slowly stuffed it to the gills with—stuff.
Well, eventually the Plymouth got fixed, the Pontiac got hauled off and the Sunbeam went somewhere, and our backyard looked a little less like a small junkyard and more like a garden. Daddy had a love for growing roses and I have to admit they looked a lot better than the old cars that adorned our yard for a season. Thinking back, I wonder what people thought about the old World War II barracks turned house with a car or two parked in the backyard. I wonder if they, like me, like you, were tempted to judge the people that lived there?
I wonder if they ever pondered why the house needed painting most of the time or why there were old junk cars sitting in the yard? I wonder if they thought the people who lived there were lazy or unkept. Well, in the case of 6008 Carlton Road they would have been wrong on both cases. My Daddy was a hard worker making sure the folks under his care had food and clothes. He worked until his heart said no, and even then he found a job as a security guard. Mama worked hard taking care of us. She poured her life into our lives and made sure there was supper on the table and clean clothes to wear. I would suppose they both were too busy pulling it all together to worry what people thought.
I know this. When I drive south to Paducah and pass that old house with the overgrown Capri in the front yard, it won’t be thoughts of judgement that pass through my mind. Instead, I will remember two people who worked hard to make life possible for my me, and my brothers and sisters. And then I will remember that until I have walked in someone’s shoes, I have no business looking down on anyone. Most folks don’t wake up some morning and just decide to have their world go south. Sometimes it just happens. But what I do know is that Jesus, the Man a lot of us have committed to follow, wouldn’t cast a rock, rather He would lend a hand.
One day a couple of Jesus followers were going to church and they passed by a man who couldn’t walk. The guy was begging and that was the honorable thing to do given there was no security net for help in those days. He looked up and the two Jesus guys looked down. They said, “You know, we don’t have any money, but we do have an answer. And right there, right then, they reached down and in the name of Jesus they healed the guy. He got up, did a little dance and they all went to church together. How about that? So, who can you help today? What house have you driven by so many times before but perhaps today you need to stop? I know in a world of risks, that can be hard but hey, I know Someone who will help make it happen. His name is Jesus and He’s got this. Bro. Dewayne