Singing in the car wash

Three full days of speakers, workshops, book-browsing, ruminating, walking, talking, listening – Calvin’s Festival of Faith and Writing motivated and inspired me to return to writing once again. But isn’t it easy to slip back into the same daily patterns and let the same old soundtrack repeat in your head? Just a few days after the conference, I felt like I was beginning the procrastination plan all over, in spite of Anne Lamott’s advice to just sit in the chair and stay there, and Richard Foster’s admonition to just yell NO! to all worthy distractions.

I had been thinking about how I wanted this post-mountain-top-experience to be different and in my ordinary, errand-filled, task-driven day, I drove my car up to the car wash and heard singing. My radio wasn’t on and I thought it strange that the car ahead of me would have its window down as the attendant sprayed it with water. Then I realized that the young man with shoulder-length dark hair was rhythmically fanning the water hose while singing aloud. Enthusiastically, he circled the car in front of me, spraying and singing in his beautiful baritone voice.

He stopped for a moment to wiggle his fingers and guide me forward when it was my turn. I showed him my receipt, he smiled and said, you’re all set, and off he went to spray my car and sing some more. As my car began to slowly glide through the swirl of foam and the swish of soapy water, I smiled too. He was practicing his art. Doing the mundane didn’t keep him from music-making and spirit-lifting.  Fear or embarrassment didn’t stop him from doing what he obviously loved to do.

Why did he make such an impact on me? I wasn’t sitting in an auditorium with a notebook on my lap, but his passion spoke to me and I took note. Practicing one’s art isn’t selfish at all, especially when it’s shared with the world around you. I wanted to go back and thank him for sharing. Maybe I still will.

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