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Cadillacs and grace

She’d never owned a new car. She’d put in 30 years at a nursing home, and she was finally able to afford one – and what a one it was.

I bet she felt amazing headed to work for the first time in that Cadillac. She was almost there when she took a left at the red light – the one that I ran.

I had just turned 17.  My Papa gave me his beloved 1987 Ford Ranger for my birthday. I grew up riding in that truck. I loved it, too. It was silver with a blue camper shell.

Back then I worked concessions at estate sales. If no one bid a dollar on something, I did. The back of that truck was loaded down with banana boxes full of junk: old cologne bottles, records, dishes, anything and everything.

If the truck wasn’t heavy enough to do the damage, the weight of its contents were.

The night after the Cadillac accident I laid in bed, staring at the midnight ceiling, consumed by guilt. I clearly remember praying: “Show me why this happened God. Just show me at some point in my life that there was a good reason behind me totaling the car that woman worked so hard for and the only way I had of getting anywhere.”

The next morning I stood out front, miserably waiting to get on a school bus I hadn’t ridden since kindergarten. I was the only senior on it. Heck, there were days I was the only high schooler on it.

A few months later, the bus stopped a couple of miles from home. I watched a tall, skinny guy get on.  The kids all recognized him and started screaming “Josh! Josh!” Behind him was a girl in a white shirt and leather jacket. Her hair was tied back with a red bandanna. The kids screamed again, “Amanda! Amanda!”

They were back on the bus because Josh’s car had been rear-ended – at a red-light.

I was shy then, so it took a few days to start talking to Amanda, but I did.

It wasn’t long until Josh had a car again, but Amanda kept riding, so she could see me. On the days when my mom could take us to school, I rode anyways, so I could see Amanda.

My grandmother says, “I knew Will was in love when I saw him running to catch the school bus, ’cause he didn’t run for anything.”

Long ago I desperately prayed for one reason why that wreck had happened. God has given me a lot more reasons than one.

The gold band on my left hand is a reason. The 6-foot 14-year-old, with her nose and my everything else, is a reason. The work he’s done in us through each other is a reason.

Soon we will celebrate 20 years together – 20 years of reasons.

Romans 8:28 says, “We know that all things work together for good for those who love God.” I know that’s true because I’ve seen His grace cover a lot of things – even Cadillacs.

Stults is a performing songwriter from Russellville.

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