Those who know me well know I cannot dance. Not because I don’t want to, but because I have two left feet, and I don’t know what a beat is, let alone how to keep it. Yet today I went into my front yard, in the middle of the driveway and did a victory dance. There is no question whether I looked like a fool or not, I am sure I did, but I did not care. I danced, and it felt good! I danced and I sang out there in front of God…and the dog. The reason I danced is because today became a historical moment in my marriage.
There has been a thorn in my flesh and my husband has had the power to remove it, but would not… until today. The thorn was big and it was ugly, and it was parked in the driveway, right where it had died four years ago. To my husband it had almost become invisible. I think he may have even seen through it as he passed by it each day to enter the house, occupied with other things on his mind. Not me, I could no longer bring myself to park in the front of the house because I would have to look at it, so I began parking in the back.
It became a sore spot between me and my husband. We didn’t agree on what to do with it, so nothing was done with it. It just sat there year after year melting in the hot sun, paint cracking, and tires deflating. It took its place in all our Easter pictures, though I tried to angle the camera in a way to keep it out. My grandchildren didn’t understand the concept, and they thought it looked like a good place to hide eggs.
I started feeling like one of the characters in a red-neck joke and it wasn’t very funny. I wanted it out of my life and gone! I was upset with my husband for not making it so. What was he waiting for, decomposition? I began harboring a grudge over this silly green van. Perhaps that is exactly why it would not leave.
God has a way of knowing how to uncover the worst in us. Things we may not even know we are hiding come creeping out of our hearts. The van wasn’t the ugliest thing parked at my house, my attitude was. I had an attitude of pride and I was letting it come between me and my husband’s relationship. I was embarrassed and worried about what other people thought of me more than I was concerned about loving my husband.
One day he just said to me, “OK, get rid of it.” I was shocked! “Are you serious?” I couldn’t believe after all this time he finally agreed to have the van removed. This year we have been married 25 years. Had I finally worn him out? I began feeling a little guilty. Victory didn’t taste as sweet as I thought it would. So what did I do? Absolutely nothing; I did nothing for several days.
I did nothing until he asked me why I hadn’t done anything. That gave me the opportunity to find out if he was really OK with me getting rid of the van, and he was. I think while God was working on my prideful heart, he was working on my husband’s bend toward procrastination, and in the end we both learned some things. We also found out that we would still love each other whether the van left or was buried with us at the end of our lives.
Today it was time for the van to leave. It was kind of sad watching it be cabled up onto a tow truck, all four tires flat. The wheels moaned as they rolled backwards. While I looked at it, I realized how much we had worn it out with all our school field trips and vacations. Its seats hold the memories of my little boys bottoms; never sitting still. There is a soda stain on the floor in the very back, and coffee spilled up front; christened on our many drives together.
For a moment I hesitated to let it go for fear all the wonderful memories of days gone by would leave with it. Before I realized what I was doing, I started waving good bye as though it was an old friend I was going to miss. I watched the tow truck drive away and the green van disappear from view and that was about how long it took me to snap out of it!
It felt good to stand in the driveway, unobstructed; physically and spiritually reclaiming the space. The words to a hymn came bubbling up into my mind and before I knew it I was singing, “There is victory in Jesus!” The old van had taught its lessons and was now gone, with it went the heaviness of disagreements and grudges. My heart was light and I was ready to let the dancing begin!