The Little Carherd

Sep 25, 2016


by Sarah Estes, PCA Board Member

My five-year-old son has hundreds of cars. He has Matchbox cars, Hot Wheels, cheap plastic cars from the quarter machines outside of grocery stores, cars that go “vroom” and cars that race when you pull them back and let go. His favorites are his cars from the Disney movie “Cars” (they have faces and personalities and names). He has big cars and small cars, medium sized cars and teeny tiny cars which we long ago nicknamed the “baby cars”.  His obsession with cars started at age two and has only grown over the years. 

Often, my little boy puts every car in a long line across our living room floor.  The line is so long that it goes down our hallway and circles back around so that we literally have cars from one end of our house to the other.  His wealth of cars is impressive, but what’s more remarkable about my child is that each car has a story.  Pick out any car on our floor and Caleb can tell you where he got it, how long he’s had it, and (if it has a face) he can tell you it’s name. 

A few months ago a tire fell off of one of his Hot Wheels.  He brought the car to be me in tears, asking if I could put it back together.  When I picked the car up the other tire fell off.  I inspected it and told him it was probably not going to be as easy to fix as I had thought.  In my mind he had gotten the dollar’s worth of play out of the little piece of metal and now it was time to let it go to that giant Hot Wheels track in the sky.  But my son had something else in mind.  He couldn’t bear to throw it away so he asked if we could glue the tires on.  I explained that they wouldn’t roll if they were glued and he said he understood.  We glued the tires, set it up on the shelf, and Caleb waited.  After a few hours the car was dry and he took it back to the other cars with which he was playing in the living room.  “Hey guys, look who’s back!” I heard Caleb say.  “He can’t race anymore, but he’d be a great coach.”

The parable of the lost sheep in Matthew 18 comes to mind when I think about my son.  He has hundreds of cars, but took the time to wait and care for the one that needed to be fixed.  He cried genuine tears over one little car, that by anyone else’s standards could have easily been replaced, and pleaded for it to be glued imperfectly.  He and his hundreds of other cars rejoiced when that one little car was brought back to life, and to this day it still comes out to play with all the rest.  I wipe away a tear of pride as I write this, for my little carherd, who sees the value in toys that are broken and imperfect.

Isn’t that what those of us who go into prison week after week do too?  We are the lucky few who get see the light of God inside the darkest of places.  We go forth after the broken and lost and sometimes, most times, we are the ones who come back changed.  I pray as my little carherd grows bigger that his heart keeps growing too; and that he sees the beauty in broken people and never loses faith in them, keeps loving them until their hearts are healed.  A car can’t roll when its tires are glued, but it still has a purpose. 

Category: love

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