“Make a left at this intersection!”
I nodded and followed my instructor’s directions. The sudden lane change was tricky and now the light was taking forever to turn green.
“Don’t pull up so close to a car at a red light. Someone might hit you from behind and you could smash the car in front of you. Always leave space so you can see their tires on the pavement.”
I sighed, a little loud.
"The light’s green.”
“I know Dad.”
I could feel the stress rising as the swelter of the summer day dripped down my back. My father and aunt were on a mission to retrace our family’s roots in their old hometown. My brother and I were doing our best to keep up on the details; apparently there was some bit of history on every street corner.
As we pulled up to what we thought was the right house my dad said, “This should be it, but the numbers are all wrong and there’s no dormers.” He paused. “Go ask that lady who’s watering her lawn if she knows anything.”
So that’s what I did, because even when you are in your 50’s you still follow your father’s commands and impromptu driving lessons. As I stepped out of the car, my brother and I exchanged a teasing look. Then I caught the reflection of my aunt in the mirror; the twinkle was back in her eyes. It had been quite a journey.
A few minutes later I returned to tell Dad he was right. This had been the site of my aunt and mom’s foster home, but the 1910 bungalow had been torn down years ago and was replaced by the stucco monstrosity in front of us. His “I told you so!” smirk almost took up the whole front seat.
“We‘d better get moving, there’s a few more places to see before the traffic gets bad.”, he announced.
Although we weren’t our regular chatty selves, we were having a nice time. It still felt awkward to be together. To anyone driving past us probably thought we were tourists or a family out for a Sunday drive. Both of these scenarios were true, but most of all we were a miracle.
It had been a little over two years since my aunt and brother were homeless; living in a campsite, drowning in one bad decision after another. Help wasn’t necessarily wanted and all relations were strained, but my dad had found his way into the mess one kindness at a time. A tent here, some food there and daily visits with words of hope. It was the beginning of a long road that had gotten us to where we were today.
“You forgot to leave space again!”, Dad blurted out, followed by a chuckle. He was right. I couldn’t see the tires on the road where the car in front of me had stopped. I backed up a little and let out my own grin. The peanut gallery in the back seat joined in with their wisecracks and for a moment a sense of normalcy filled the air.
My dad was right all those months ago too. I couldn’t see how my aunt and my brother could reverse the path they were on, but he was compelled to go the extra mile. His love went longer and deeper than anyone else’s could. But even he knew he had to leave space. Space for them to ponder, space to let love grow and most of all, to leave space for a miracle.
The Bible verse Colossians 1:17 “He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together” has always been a favorite scripture of mine. To me, it’s talking about “leaving space”, space for God to come in and “hold all things together” where nothing else was ever meant to be. Like mortar between bricks on a wall, only God’s perfect love can fill in the gaps where healing and strength are needed. I still have a lot to learn from my father on earth and my Father in heaven, but I can hear them both saying, “Don’t forget to leave space... for the miracles.”