When was the last time you rode in a limo?
I asked this question to my office staff the other day because my son, David, had recently ridden in a limo to his school homecoming party. I had asked him how he was planning on getting to the party, since as a typical teenager, he seems to be under the impression that his parents are sitting around anxiously waiting for opportunities to jump up at a moments notice and drive him where ever he wants to go.
David simply shrugged and said, “We’re taking a limo.”
Now, one may think this sort of matter-of-fact answer would shock me. David, however, is my youngest child, meaning I’ve been through this twice before. So his matter-of-fact comment about a fancy limo taking him to a party got my standard answer, “Oh?”
“Oh?” by the way, is a great answer to almost anything a teenager says. You have to say it as a question, of course, which not only does it cause the teenager to elaborate, but it’s a great delay tactic giving your brain a chance to race through variables associated with their irrational comments—most of which will have something to do with time and money.
“Yes,” David replied in a low, teenage mumble, “a group of us are taking a limo.” Now, the last thing I want to spend money on is a limo ride to a homecoming party, so I gave him my, “Do I look like Donald Trump?” scowl. This caused David to quickly mumble, “Don’t worry Dad, the limo isn’t going to cost us anything.” To which I immediately perked up and said, “Wow, a limo! That’s sounds like a lot of fun.”
But I started thinking about this whole limo concept. I mean, with the exception of politicians and the Donald Trumps of this world, limos are used when you want (and can afford) to do something extravagant and special. In my impromptu office survey, for example, the only limo rides taken were at weddings—and neither was mine.
I couldn’t help but consider the stark contrast of living in a “limo-available” country and a very special mission trip I was able to take last month to Cuba. Now, I suspect there are a few limos somewhere in Cuba, but it is definitely not a “limo-available” place.
A group of us were able to take some relief supplies into Cuba after Hurricane Ike tore across the country. We had the privilege of visiting some homes and churches of local pastors. One pastor’s family and home particularly sticks out in my mind. They were a handsome family. They stood in the front of their little church and smiled at us and we smiled back. Beautiful little girls holding hands, well groomed, cute dresses. Beautiful.
Their house church, which perhaps could seat 20 if everyone squeezed in tight, somehow filled up with over 60 each Sunday. Behind a curtain in the front of the church was their home. After apologizing for the “mess,” they graciously allowed us to walk around—it didn’t take long.
Two sparse bedrooms, a closet for a kitchen—which had a sink and nothing I could see that resembled a stove, and a bathroom whose mirror was a few shards of glass, and empty closets. Our talkative group went silent as we saw the true picture of their situation. There were no limos here.
While we thought no one else was looking, several of us left cash gifts to help out. We also were able to provide gifts of clothes and even some hand-made dolls for the girls lovingly given by a grandma in California. It felt good to help…even though we know it will all be used up soon.
A few days later, I was back in my beautiful “limo-available” country and my Miami home which featured such luxury items as a working stove, complete mirrors in the bathrooms, and closets full of clothes. I looked at my well-fed and happy family and couldn’t help but say a prayer of “thanks” to a gracious God who, for reasons I’ll never understand, allowed me to be born and live in this amazing country.
While we certainly have our troubles, I love living in a “limo-available” country. I may never splurge for one, but I like the idea that I could. It means I live in a country where God has blessed me with far more than just life’s essentials. It also means I can joyfully and willingly help others in need. And of course, opportunities to do just that are everywhere.