What an underwash did to me

July 4, 2008

Yesterday I decided to have an underwash for the car. The previous night, Wifey and I made a wrong turn and ended up driving for several minutes where the mud was almost ankle-deep.

I looked at the car yesterday morning and decided whether it was going to be actually therapeutic for me to clean it myself or would it be a stressor for me.  I decided on the latter.

At the Petron station, I asked about their car cleaning services and I asked how much would it cost. It was a bit pricey for my alloted carwash but I really needed the service.

When the car was hoisted through their hydraulic machines and the spray of water was cleaning the dried mud away, I started thinking of how even in our lives, a carwash – er a lifewash is something that is really very difficult to do.  A car cannot wash itself properly , and there are times when we cannot spray ourselves properly so that all the muddy remnants are taken away from our lives, from the very deep corners behind the bolts and screws.

After an hour, I started wondering how come it was taking so long for the services to be completed.  I went back to the wet part of the garage only to find that my engine was being washed as well.  Perfect, I thought to myself… now it is going to be more expensive for me.  A few minutes later, I realized that the amount given to me when I inquired covers the whole thing (underwash, body wash, vacuum and engine wash) and that it was actually a good thing!

When it was all over – the car looked really good. Smelled fresh and clean inside.  Under and over and sideways.. it was a good feeling.  I wondered what part of my life needs more cleaning? Maybe I had been concentrating on a body wash when what I need also is an engine wash and an underwash?  Amazing how one clean area in our lives would really beg us to look at other areas and see what needs to be done.  One small change. One small cleaning act.

It was amazing because when I got home, the first thing I looked for was the carwax.  Now I wanted to polish it some more and buff it to shine. The car was clean, but it lacked the gloss of a really nicely buffed car.  So I put some elbow grease into it and pretty soon a thin haze of wax was all over the car.  I took a nice clean cloth and some more elbow grease.  It was hot and humid but I didn’t mind. I was a man on a mission. I was invigorated by that underwash.  Now everything needs to be cleaned thoroughly and buffed to perfection… ok at least I tried.

I opened the doors and started scrubbing the door panels inside. I cleaned it as much as I could. With sweat coming down my face, I watched with admiration the finished work.

I went inside and went to the bedroom and took out my leather briefcase. It was a gift from Ron, my college bestfriend at our graduation last May 20, 2004.  It had been sitting somewhere, just gathering dust, its fine leather just wasting away.

I took another clean cloth and wiped it with a leather cleaner.  Some more elbow grease and the nice leather was starting to show.  It did not look brand new anymore but I could still remember how it looked. How it smelled and how proud I was to use it when it was given to me.  Back in the day, I felt very dressed while carrying this briefcase to church. But when I got back to Manila, I could take it with me for fear of being mugged when I take the jeepney or the public bus. It was too precious so I just kept it all these years.

I cleaned the inside parts, waxed, wiped… all the elbow grease I could muster.  I am a lot older now so I can use this again without worrying whether it is “in” or I would be a fashion-paux pas.  I could not care.  I tested my laptop inside the briefcase – and voila… what a beauty.  My burgundy leather briefcase is back!  I should tell Ron about his 14-year old gift… Whoa.. this briefcase is even older than the young people we had at camp!

When it was finished, I stood admiring the two things that have been “restored” – the car (cleaned from inside out) and the burgundy leathercase (whew! what a beauty. It is not a Vuiton but I still remember how it looked when I first took it out of its box)…

I was tired but my tasks were complete.  I declared them beautiful in my sight.

Philippians 1: 6 – He who started a good work in us will be faithful to complete it.

Someday, I will stand before the Lord. Before Him whose hands started the work in me.

I will be beautiful.

And I will be complete.

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