Mel’s marking

I should be sleeping. I’m wiped. I know I should be. I am going to regret it tomorrow, but have you ever met someone who you couldn’t stop thinking about.

This is the story of my friend Mel. Well, he is not really my friend.

But, I wish he was.

You see, Mel and I have never met. Nevertheless, he has left a deep impression on my life.

Let me back up. 

In my last post I shared about this sweet old man who left a note on my car apologizing for scraping the side of my parked car. He left his number and asked me to call him.

Sure enough I did… and that it how I met Mel.

We talked briefly. I liked him already. He was an older man with a mellowness to his voice that I tend to gravitate towards these days.

He kept apologizing and offered to pay for what ever the damage was; “Just send me the bill, dear, and I will take care of everything.” Do you want me to get several estimates, I asked. “Nope. I trust you. I know this must be a huge inconvenience.” Hmmm. He trusted me. Just like that.

Well, Mel. I have a favor to ask, I jumped in, I am in the middle of finals week and I really can’t do this right now. Would you mind if I postponed this for a bit and then took care of it over Christmas break? Of course, he didn’t see a problem with that.

I told him I would be in touch and we said our goodbyes.

Sure enough the holiday break passed and the car was the least of my concerns. The kids were out of school. I seriously forgot how much work that was. I mean, I’m crazy about them, but enough is enough. I was in desperate need of adult conversation or no conversation. Since when did they start demanding that I entertain them every hour of every day because God-forbid they be bored for a few hours. Sheesh.

We had a blast, but I was drained. Beat up. Down-right exhausted.

Alas, the glorious day arrived and it was time of them to head back to school.

Side note here: I think we have this gifting-teacher-thing all wrong.  We really should be gifting them when we are sending the troops back to school. I’m totally convinced that I would give much better gifts- like really good stuff- not the home-baked banana bread I usually do. Just saying.

Anyways, so back they went and I finally got around to taking in the car.

The estimate came back. $1,500.00! Are they kidding. There isn’t even a dent. It’s just some scratched off paint. I could take a black sharpie to this if I really wanted to. I was expecting several hundred, but this was ridiculous.

So, I called back Mel. Mel, I got an estimate, but there is not way I can have you pay this. It’s crazy high.

“What’s the damage,” he asked.

$1,500. Silence.

Please Mel, let me take it to another shop. You know, there is something about the impression- the mark – he had left on me, that here was a truly good person, like a true and honest man, that compelled me to want to help.

Now I was feelings horrible for poor Mel even though it was my car that was hit.I mean most people wouldn’t even leave a note and he did and if I wasn’t working my way through $10,000 in medical bills, courtesy of Bob, I would have forgotten the whole thing, but I couldn’t.

Mel had an idea;”Well, I hate to ask, but would you  mind taking it to the auto shop that I use in Monterey Park” Sure, Mel. Send me the info.

So, I called the shop and made an appointment. “Oh yeah,” the gal told me, “Mel has already called and he is going to cover the whole cost. Don’t worry. He’s good for it. He has been our customer for over twenty years.” I knew I liked this guy.

I took the car in as planned.

As I sat down at the desk to give them my information, the owner, Raul, started in; “So you know Mel.”

Well, yes. I mean, no. I started chuckling a bit, kinda.

Raul was eager to share, “You know, Mel is one good guy. When my business was hurting and I didn’t think we were going to make it, you know financially, I sent out a few letters and do you know that Mel chipped in and gave me a loan. A loan and he isn’t even family and he gave it to me without hesitating. It was he and my brother and  Mel said to me there was no rush to pay it back. Can you believe that?”

I gulped hard. Oh my gosh, I’m not going to make it through this. Don’t cry. Not yet.

“Ever since then, I have never forgotten that. I give him discounts. I take care of him. There are not many like Mel”

I know, I said.

I explained how he left a note and was so kind with me on the phone, profusely apologizing for the inconvenience this caused. I liked him already. I had never met him, but his story told it all. It told of his integrity. It told of his character.

As I was given a ride back to my parent’s house to pick up a car I could use, I sat quietly and I couldn’t help but wonder, what story do I leave behind? What stories do my actions tell? What mark do I make on others?

Oh, dear sisters, my prayer is that we will be like Mel, that our lives will leave a print- a marking- that they will speak for themselves even when we are not around. I pray that our love and care for others tells them they are seen and important- that they matter. You see, sometimes it’s love that isn’t broadcasted or boasted of that leaves a lasting print- a mark on the heart.

A mark on the heart… Those are the stories that are told and retold.

Isn’t that kinda what God does?

He leaves marks. Marks on the heart.

Can’t we see his mark, where He has been, whose lives he has touched…. oh, many can preach about him, but a mark is different. It tells a story. A story of forever changed.

Oh, dear sisters, may His love leave such a mark on us, that we in turn, leave that mark on others.

to do justly… and to love mercy… and to walk humbly with our God…

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