So, let me ask, when was the last time getting your car washed turned into a mini-lesson on the corporal and spiritual works of mercy? Mercy has been much on our minds this year with the Jubilee Year of Mercy, the book study Beautiful Mercy, the Pope’s book The Name of God is Mercy and Divine Mercy Sunday coming right up. However, I did not think of my dirty car as an experience in mercy.
After multiple complaints from The Children about my car’s dirty exterior (but clean heart), the dusty brown mini-van and I finally went in for a little Easter season cleaning. First, I should set the stage by telling you we were taking my son to a doctor’s appointment in the Bellaire area of Houston when all this went down. As you may remember, this part of town was originally a traditionally Jewish neighborhood and is, in fact, where our blog’s Jewish adviser, Kenneth, lives. Creeping slowly down Bellaire Boulevard, we happened upon an oasis of festive palapas that make up the Dr. Gleem car wash. But who knew Dr. Gleem would turn out to be a Christian car wash?
I went for the basic wash, handed over my keys and L Man and I went in to watch the van being put through its paces. When I opened the door to the waiting area, however, a veritable Wonderland was revealed. Is anyone else a bit daunted to enter a long, dark tunnel with lights shining at the end? Did anyone see “Heaven is for Real? Down this long, dark corridor, neon signs highlighted all of the services offered while you wait at Dr. Gleem: a taqueria, a shoe shine, a hair cutting salon and… wait for it… a Prayer Wall!
Is this not genius? Right off the bat you have “Feed the hungry” and “Give drink to the thirsty,” and “Instruct the ignorant.” Arguably, we were temporarily homeless and being sheltered. The prayer wall was chock full of mercy: “Counsel the doubtful,” “admonishing sinners,” and “comfort the afflicted.” Not only could you write up your prayer request but two metal racks enticingly offered business cards printed with scripture verses for you to take and distribute. I may have picked up a few. Or more than a few. The one about not making idols had a big Longhorn-looking thing on it. Ted had to have it. To think, more than half the works of mercy in one place and I got my car vacuumed!
Of course, it would be impossible to have this experience and not reflect on the words from Rose Royce’s 1976 hit, “Car Wash,” which I think captures the Christian experience pretty well. See what you think:
You might not ever get rich
But let me tell you it’s better than digging a ditch
There ain’t no telling who you might meet
A moviestar or maybe even an Indian chief
Working at the car wash
Working at the car wash, yeah
Come on and sing it with me, car wash
Sing it with the feeling now, car wash yeah
Come summer the work gets kind of hard
This ain’t no place to be if you planned on being a star
Let me tell you it’s always cool
And the boss don’t mind sometimes if you act a fool
The prayer wall was huge so I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to pray for our Pilgrim Family. I don’t know if this prayer will have as much impact as the Wailing Wall but it can’t hurt.
So, my fellow pilgrims, fear not this Divine Mercy Sunday. I have got you covered. And anyone else who needs to put a prayer request in the Dr. Gleem wall, just let me know. I am sure we will be back there soon enough. After all, those Goldfish didn’t crush themselves onto my floor mats. And remember, mercy may literally be found where you least expect it!
P.S. We were late for our appointment after all this, so I couldn’t wait for the final drying process. However, I do get to add “bear wrongs patiently” to my list.