Cigarette smoke and used motor oil. Yes, that is what it smells like at Tex’s. I always try to enunciate my words carefully when I am talking about taking one of the vehicles to Tex’s–because it is a long way to Texas from here….
Anyways, as I was sitting in the sleepily warm little mechanic’s shop on that well-used little black chair, the sound of a smooth-running engine drifted through the open door. I couldn’t keep my mind from wandering and my eyes kept shutting on me without warning. Nevertheless, I couldn’t help noticing the haphazard, almost waist high stack of old vehicle cassette tape players directly across from me. There were other once-neat stacks of this, that, and the other, no doubt their contents well-known to the men who work there. The cup of half-used pens in the window sill was dusty–as were the new batteries over on a small rack beside the water cooler and under the large, faded sign saying the charge is based on a labor rate of $60.00 an hour. Fair enough. The ceiling tiles looked like a few were replaced after Charley, but they’ve been there long enough to turn yellow themselves, though not as yellow as the rest. The half-smoked cigarette Tex had left in the tray was creating a soft, twisting thread of smoke just across the weathered desk from me and permeating the air with its’ peculiar odor.
About then, the phone rings loudly right by my ear and I jump–literally. Tex takes the call from the outside–I hear him answer the cordless phone that is always in his shirt pocket, “This is Tex.” And I drift back off into my half-dreaming state….
I couldn’t seem to be able to think about anything in particular, so my thoughts drifted here and there, in and out of prayer. And that was one of the things I thought about–about how it is difficult to pray when one is terribly sleepy. About how things tumble around in one’s mind like the ever-shifting, slowly rotating clouds of a hurricane when one is overcome by the heat of a muggy afternoon. About how I’ve been neglecting my blog. About how I set up this blog with a purpose to talk about lots of things–but haven’t written with as much variety as I had planned on. About how lots of different sort of things–some of them expendable–take up my time. About how I use my time. About how I ought to use my spare time like this time sitting in the office praying. About how to pray following the pattern of the Lord’s Prayer. About how our new pastor prays–always and often calling on the name of Christ. About how one of our other pastors preaches on the prayer at least once a year. About the two natures of Christ, yet one person. About my sewing projects–how many? four? five? ten (or more) if I count everything separately?–that need doing in the next couple of months.
And then the phone rings briskly in my ear once again and Tex limps in, taking care of business…. As I startle back into the present once more, I remember this passage: “I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” ~Matthew 12:36-37 I think of that applying to what I think as well as what I say, reminding myself that my Father sees all that I think, as well as every silly word that comes falling from my lips. That is honestly a comforting thought on the one hand, since it means that God really does know everything and I don’t have to spell out every tiny detail in my prayers; though, on the other hand, it is sobering that, even in our thoughts, we still bear the responsibility to love him entirely, to be charitable to our brothers and sisters, and to seek their edification. After all, “out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. The good person out of his good treasure brings forth good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure brings forth evil.” ~Matthew 12:34c-35
But by then Tex was done with his phone call and was asking me how things were going….