Thursday, March 24, 2011

Thankful Thursdays - My Bumper Sticker

Almost 6 years ago we began our search for the perfect family car. The transmission in our current car was going out (it had a manual transmission and first gear was gone). We also found out that I was pregnant with our second baby. Those two factors required that we get on the ball and search for a safe, reliable car. My husband asked his mechanic friend which cars he recommended. Of course Toyota and Honda topped the list, but they are extremely expensive. Following those, he suggested Subaru. After researching and looking for cars, we found a 1997 green Subaru Outback. It seemed just perfect for our little family.

The one thing that always seems to happen when you buy a car is that you suddenly notice that everyone else seems to have done the same thing. Copies of your new car begin to appear all over the place. (Well, it might just be that all of a sudden your powers of observation for your particular type of car have dramatically improved.) The difference this time, though, was that our friends and family noticed the same thing. We seem to have bought the most common make, model and color of car in our city. (We are one of at least 4 of the exact same style and color in our neighborhood alone.)

To be able to differentiate our car from all of those similar ones out there, we put a simple bumper sticker on our car. This, of course, only serves to differentiate it from a distance. If you want to walk up and look in the windows, our car is easy to spot. It has two booster seats and a pile of kids clothes, toys and papers on the floor in the back. Apparently those who are responsible for our car are not very good at keeping it picked up and clean. I am thankful for our bumper sticker, that it individualizes our otherwise commonplace car.

Even more than just setting our car apart from the masses, I love what our bumper sticker says. It is simple. It isn't complicated. You don't have to squint and get close to read it. (If you do need to get that close, you really shouldn't be driving and you need some new glasses.) In fact, it is only one word: Grace. It is only one word, but it carries a lot of meaning. A few of the definitions of grace from include:

  • a pleasing or attractive quality or endowment. 
  • favor or good will. 
  • a manifestation of favor, especially by a superior.
  • mercy; clemency; pardon: an act of grace. 
  • favor shown in granting a delay or temporary immunity. 
  • moral strength: the grace to perform a duty. 
  • Theology.
    • the freely given, unmerited favor and love of God 
    • the influence or Spirit of God operating in humans to regenerate or strengthen them. 
    • a virtue or excellence of divine origin: the Christian graces. 
    • Also called state of grace. the condition of being in God's favor or one of the elect.
Frequently, while driving, I am thankful for my bumper sticker. This sticker is not on the paint of our car, but on the window. (Yes, so that it will not ruin the paint.) The unintended result is that every time I glance at my rear view mirror, I see my bumper sticker.

I am reminded on the road to extend grace to the other drivers. There are many times on the road when I need to extend my good will, my mercy, my pardon, my temporary immunity. You know those times when someone cuts you off and is completely oblivious that they did it? Yes, that is an ideal time to extend grace. Driving is the perfect opportunity to practice showing grace to others.

And for those times when I am a less than stellar driver, when I am the one accidentally cutting someone off, I am asking for grace. I hope that as I wave my apology through the window, that there is a chance they may see this bumper sticker. We all make mistakes. We all need grace.

I am thankful for the way my bumper sticker identifies my car. I am thankful for the way my bumper sticker has changed the way I view other drivers on the road. I am thankful for the way my bumper sticker asks other drivers to extend grace to me when I make a mistake. I am thankful for my bumper sticker.

 Come join me (and my friends at Adventures Of Raising A Baby In The City )! Every almost every Thursday, I will post something for which I am thankful, and I would love it if you participate as well. It is medicine for the soul to give thanks and, when practiced regularly, results in contentment. It can be anything: silly, personal, or blog related. Just take a moment to give thanks!

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