The following encounter is true… it happened in Chicago at a repair shop in the 1990’s. The repair shop wasn’t Chuck’s and wasn’t named after him. He just worked there…
Here’s a teaser: this is the start of my Easter Message this weekend… what do you think the point is?
Chuck the Mechanic
I’ve got to tell you the story of Chuck, the car mechanic. Some time ago my car needed a brake job. This was when I lived in Chicago. So I brought my car in, and they took it right away, put it up in the air, and started working on my car. I struck up a conversation with a very interesting mechanic named Chuck.
Chuck was a guy’s guy. He was tough. He was smart. He was completely rough around the edges. Meaning he was a typical, blue-collar tough guy.
The only thing that Chuck knew about me was that my car needed brakes… actually it needed to have the wheel cylinders rebuilt. So Chuck felt all kinds of freedom to say all kinds of things to me, because to him, I was just another normal guy just like him.
He had a really colorful vocabulary. I had to look this up, because I remember enough from math class that there are three kinds of averages: mean, median, and mode. And mode is the one that occurs most frequently… The average–the mode–length of Chuck’s choice of words was four letters. Four letters was clearly the modal average.
Plus, Chuck had just come off a very busy weekend. Which he was dying to share with someone. Even a stranger–one that he didn’t know was a servant of a holy, almighty God. Poor, poor Chuck.
I’ll just say that he didn’t spend his weekend sober, and he didn’t spend it alone. And of all the people on earth, he chose ME to tell his story to. He was funny. He was honest. He was real. Chuck would never be the poster boy for the Boy Scouts.
So he’s talking. He’s working on my car. I’m listening. I’m connecting. And I’m just building a bridge to a mechanic named Chuck.
Finally after a half an hour of Chuck doing almost all the talking, he took a breath. And he asked me the fateful question.
My wife’s an attorney. And one of the things she’s taught me is a rule that every attorney knows: never ask a witness a question that you don’t know that answer to.
Chuck should have taken her advice. Chuck asked me…
“So… what do you do?”
I just smiled. He looked a little puzzled, and asked again: “What?”
I said, “Chuck, you don’t want to know.” I just stood there. And you gotta understand, I wasn’t dressed up. I was in jeans and a t-shirt and a Chicago Cubs baseball cap. I didn’t have a priest’s collar on, or a halo, or anything. “Chuck, you don’t want to know.”
Chuck looked at me. He thought for a minute. And suddenly it hit him like Brian Urlacher on Tinkerbell.
And I didn’t have to say a single word…
If you want the rest of the story, see ya at Easter Services (or you can watch and listen online… click the link in the header bar above. They usually post my messages by Wednesday)…
All our regular times and places… click here for the schedule and directions.
Christ is Risen!