Monday, 13 July 2020

M Michele's Musings

A Car Named Mona Lisa

One of the differences between men and women is that most men can remember every single detail about the vehicles they once owned from the color right down to the size of the motor.   As a woman, I personally don’t remember many of the cars I have owned much less the size of their motors.  Except for the car I once owned named Mona Lisa.

I owned Mona Lisa back in the day when my family was struggling financially.  I didn’t work at the time and my husband was in a low paying job though it was one he loved.  We needed a second vehicle and were able to purchase a car from a family member for a very low price.  The car was a Ford Pinto two door station-wagon hatchback.  She was two-tone in color.  Her original blue paint job was faded and no longer new and shiny.  The hood, roof and parts of the front panels and back panels were painted a mustard yellow primer.  She was not pretty to look at and in an oxymoron-ish way I dubbed her “Mona Lisa” because she was anything but a fine work of art.  Mona Lisa had other issues as well.  The air conditioning, heater and radio did not work.  The front driver’s side door could not be shut from inside so the driver had to get in and have someone outside the car shut the door firmly or you had to crawl over the passenger side seat and plop yourself into the driver’s seat.

In the summer, rolled down windows became our “air conditioning.”  I spent many a spring or fall day with itchy, watery eyes, sneezing all the way to destinations because of allergies.  On cold winter days, we bundled up in coats, gloves, scarves, hats and we each had a blanket to put over our laps.  My daughter was my door closer and it was a real bummer when she was not with me and I had to crawl through the passenger side to get to the driver’s seat.           

Despite the fact that Mona Lisa was less than perfect, she was a very reliable car.  Her motor was in good condition and during the year and a half that we owned her she never failed to run like a top and get us to where we were going.  I can’t remember at any time in our history together that Mona Lisa broke down and left me stranded even though we lived in a rural area and some trips took well over an hour of drive time.  Some of my fondest memories took place in that car.  Because Mona Lisa did not have a working radio it helped with family communication.  We talked, prayed, joked and laughed together in that car.  We sang songs, though none of us could really carry a tune, and often made up our own tunes and songs.  We had very special and fun times in that car.       

Thinking about Mona Lisa’s short comings, I am reminded that people also have outward and inward flaws that are judged by others.   Opinions, prejudices and judgments are often formed without really getting to know the person on the inside.  If we had judged Mona Lisa from the outside and known some of her inward issues we probably would have never considered buying her.   Luckily for her and us we were not in a position to turn the deal down and thankfully she ended up becoming a blessing in our lives.   It is no different with people that we meet.   We should never let outward appearances and even some inward flaws influence our opinion of another.   Often the very things we see as problems can end up being a very positive thing in our lives.   

Mona Lisa’s strength was her engine, the heart of any car.  That was the part of her that really mattered.  Could she get you to where you needed to go?   Was she faithful and reliable?  The fact that she did not have a radio even became a blessing for our family. In the same way, every single person is valuable despite disabilities, perceived flaws and/or differences.   The problem is that we judge and write off people just as we might have done with Mona Lisa except for an immediate need that outweighed what we saw on the outside.   It is the same when we meet others.  We should strive to know someone’s heart for therein lies the true person.  Every person we meet has the ability to become a blessing in our lives if we give them a chance.  

The Bible teaches us this truth.  In 1st Samuel 16, God told Samuel to go to the house of Jesse for He had chosen one of Jesse’s sons to be the next king to replace Saul, King of Israel.  Jesse sent his sons to Samuel beginning with the eldest.  In verse 6 we see Samuel looked on Jesse’s eldest, Eliab and he thought, “Surely the Lord's anointed is before him.” Yet in verse 7 the Lord speaks those immortal words to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature. For the Lordsees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lordlooks on the heart.”  Five more of Jesse’s sons go before Samuel and one by one God says, “Neither has the Lordchosen this one.” Finally Samuel said to Jesse, “The Lordhas not chosen these.” “Are all your sons here?”  At this point Jesse tells him, “There remains yet the youngest, but behold, he is keeping the sheep.” And when the youngest, David was brought before Samuel the Lordsaid, “Arise, anoint him, for this is he.”   The very last one to be brought before Samuel was the son that God had chosen, yet Jesse’s family perceived him only as a young sheep herder.  He was only brought when Samuel specifically asked if Jesse had other sons.  Everyone, including Samuel, was looking at the outward rather than the inward heart of David.   

Mona Lisa was just a car but she became a blessing to our family despite her appearance and flaws.  She had a good “heart.”  How much more does God see past the outward appearances and the inward flaws to see potential in all of mankind?  He has a wonderful plan for every single life.  As we give our hearts to Him and allow Him to change us, He works in our lives so that we can not only be blessed by Him but be a blessing to others.  “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”  Jeremiah 29:11 

Praying that the “Mona Lisa’s” in your life will forever be a source of encouragement, help and blessing in your life.  I hope that your Christmas was blessed as you celebrated the wonderful season of God’s wonderful gift to mankind, Jesus!  May your New Year will be full of blessings, love, joy and abundant peace.

Love in Christ, Michele

Columnist: Michele Abshire

 

Michele Abshire is a housewife, mother, grandmother, and full time legal assistant. She has been published in Lake Charles, Louisiana publications, Christian Star Newspaper and Gumbeaux Magazine.  

Michele began writing notes of encouragement to people God put on her heart which led her in the direction of writing short encouraging stories, letters, essays and analogies.  This quickly became a ministry for her.  

Michele's vision is to reach people with encouraging messages that will lift their heart and bring joy for sorrow and hope for discouragement. Michele enjoys your feedback so leave a comment in the form at the bottom of the page or email her at  micheles.musings@gmail.com

 

 

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