heart wash

I take my heart out to see if I can figure out what is wrong. The starter sounds fine—seems to be getting plenty of electricity. The tires are still good, lots of tread left. I haven’t changed the oil lately but I figure I have a few miles left on it.

So I stand back and look at it from several feet away to see what might be causing the trouble.

Oh, wow! My heart is dirty! I had no idea it had gotten this bad.

I haven’t been to the heart wash for awhile. Oh, I take it back, I’ve been to the quick one, the cheap one where you just drive through and get a quick spray and the big stuff comes off, the leaves and the bird droppings, obvious junk. In fact Sunday mornings I usually pay for the premium wash. But the deep dirt and the dried up bug splats, that embedded stuff is all over my heart. How did I let it get this messy?

Hey! Where did that big ding come from! Oh, yeah, that was day that I had the big argument. Those nasty words we said made quite an impact. I peer closely; the dent shows signs of peeling paint already. If I’m not careful, rust will set in quickly and my heart will be ruined.

That does it. I’m getting my heart detailed. Full serviced.

I call the Guy, the one with the best reputation. Can I make an appointment? Free all day? Let’s get this baby washed and detailed!

He arrives nearly instantly and I hand him the keys to my dirty heart. I think I might go chill for a few hours with a coffee, but He says He can work faster and better if I help.


I want Him to do all the work and I will just pick up my shiny heart when He is all done. No such luck.

We go to work, and at first I try to do it my way. But every time I work on a dried up bug splat, I make it worse. I’m scraping away and next thing I know, I scratch it up even more. I’m too rough on the delicate parts of my heart. It is frustrating, working so hard and getting nowhere. I am sweating and my deodorant wore off awhile ago.

I’m sick of this heart mess! I should’ve left it alone. Why bother??? My manicure is ruined and my feet hurt. I whine.

But He is patient and kind, and each time I mess up He’s gentle as He shows me a better way. I’m slow to learn but after awhile I get the hang of it. He has this certain way of working steady, not abrasive at all, but very detailed. He has special tools, too, and when he finishes the biggest dent, you can’t even tell there had been such damage! And where I want to skip over spots, His eye doesn’t miss a thing.

“Here,” he says, applying some kind of balmy heart cleaner. “Let me rub that out.”

I stop whining.

I cooperate.

We work hard, He and I, but truthfully He does most of the work. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still sweaty and putting out effort, but His hand is guiding mine the whole way.

Finally we’re done for the day. I lean my head down on my heart, trying not to get old sweat on the shiny surface. I feel His hand in mine.

“Let’s take a look,” He says, and we step back from our handiwork.

Oh my gosh, if you could see how shiny and new my heart looks! You’d never know how many miles are on this old thing. I’ve never seen it look this great before!! They said He was the best detailer, but I’d never, ever, experienced a heart wash like this before.

There’s no way I’m going to settle for the cheap washes again. Oh, I’ll still get them and I’ll still go for the Sunday morning premium wash, but I’m now spoiled. I want my heart looking this good no matter how many miles I put on it.

I memorize His number. He smiles and surprises me with a hug. I reach for my credit card.

He laughs. “No charge,” He says. “It’s been paid for already. Call me anytime.”

the heart wash

by Leslie Rowe time to read: 4 min