Wednesday, June 28, 2006

a good husband

I am driving home in the rain the other day and as I turn the corner I find myself behind an old, red Ford pick-up truck. You could tell this thing had some miles on it. And in the bed of the truck were all kinds of shovels, rakes and lawn mowing equipment. There was a rack that was old and rusty which supported two ladders of two different sizes. The ladders were worn and rested on top of the cab of the truck as they stretched from front to back. It was too rainy to discern anything else in the bed of the truck, but it was clear that the guy driving was a blue collar kind of guy.

I couldn't tell if this guy did lawn care or was a maintenance man. Either way, it was likely that his skin was as weathered as that old truck he drove. As I scanned my eyes down to the bumper of his truck, I saw something that surprised me. I expected a bumper sticker of some kind. But I didn't expect this.

Bumper stickers are usually used to say things we feel passionate about. They make a statement about big, important things. I usually see bumper stickers referencing the things we aren't supposed to talk about over dinner at the neighbor's house. Politics and Religion are usually good bumper sticker fodder. If its a small, beat-up civic I can expect stickers that are "pro-choice," want to save the environment and want to treat animals well. If its an expensive car, in Maryland, I can usually expect an anti-Bush sticker or a "my kid is smarter than yours" sticker. If its a mini-van then I might expect a Jesus-fish. And if its a pick-up truck, I usually expect some reference to the rebel flag, "Real men love Jesus," or a crude reference suggesting that I get off of their bumper.

But that isn't what this bumper sticker said. He only had one sticker on his bumper. One chance to say in a few words what was most important to him. One chance to stick it to "the man" or whomever might be behind him that day. One chance to save the world and all the creatures who live in it. One chance to share the gospel through the powerful advertising of bumper stickers. But he decided not to do any of that. Instead, this is what his bumper sticker said: "I love my wife."

That was it. I love my wife. And it struck me how powerful this statement really is. It sounds so mundane at first. But then I thought of how rare it is these days for a husband to love his wife. At first it was like he had a sticker that said, "I take out the trash." Of course you take out the trash. We all do. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that he wasn't championing some minor chore. He was making a statement. He was setting out to do what many men do not. He had decided that one of the most important causes to be a part of was the cause of his family. And one of the most important missions that he had to take on was that of loving his wife.

And then I thought, here is a blue collar guy who could have put a lot of "manly" things on his truck. He could have put something about drinking or smoking or shooting deer. He could have put some crass statement on there that would have pissed off everyone behind him that day. He could have gotten in good with "the boys" and set himself up as "one of the guys." He could have put some sly comment about his ol' "ball n' chain." He could have told us, as so many bumper stickers do, where he would "rather be." But he decided against all of that. He decided to put on that old, Ford truck something a bit softer...something more loving and less "manly." He simply let us know that he is a husband who loves his wife. And while that doesn't get him points with the "fellas" at work, I know it must get him points at home with his family.

I don't know this for sure. But I imagine that at night, after work, that guy's friends are out at the bars complaining about their rebellious kids and nagging wives. And I bet he is at home posting good report cards on the 'fridge and making love to the wife he is so proud to tell the world about.


At 12:30 PM, Blogger scott j. said...

Really awesome post Mark!

At 12:13 AM, Blogger The Table Guy said...

Great post Mark.

So, you bought any good bumper stickers lately?

At 8:03 PM, Anonymous Joe Martino said...

Hey Man, where do you live exactly? I used to live in the Eastern Shore, planted an SBC church there. Worked in Towson. Living in Ohio now. Oh yeah, the bumper sticker. You can get 'em at Promise Keepers. if your denom flav won't let you actually go to a conference. :)

At 3:39 PM, Blogger Mark said...

I live in the White Marsh area but the church of which I am a part is located in the AMC theater of Towson Commons. You probably would remember the Commons, just south of the circle on York Rd.

At 1:33 AM, Blogger Dave said...

Joe! How cool to see you, man! This is David Cowan, here... was a part of your assessment, in case you forgot! How is the family? Hope you are well, man...

At 2:35 PM, Anonymous Joe Martino said...

Dave Cowan!
Hey Man, we're doing well. I remember you. How's your tribe? I have three girls now. Drop me an email sometime. You can get me through my journal.

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