The year was 1997. Newly married, Rob and I had moved from our small hometown to the busy city of Calgary. There was much to take in.
One of the things that captured both my eye and my imagination was this huge sign at our neighbourhood Gas Station. Recent improvements had been completed, a new LASER touchless car wash had just been installed and was now operational. My mind was blown. People were using LASER’s to wash cars?!
As a new wife, I was quickly picking up on the fact that my husband’s need for a clean vehicle exceeded mine, and his expectation of what defined a clean vehicle, greatly differed from mine. I suspected it was only a matter of time before we would be washing the car.
Mere days later, Rob announced that it was indeed time. Was I interested in trying out the new LASER wash down the street?
Well, YES! I was a city girl now, and would have to get used to life on the cutting edge of technology. My only experience with any other form of vehicle cleansing than the good old-fashioned soap and water we used in my hometown, was driving through a carwash while visiting cousins in Saskatoon. I was not very old at the time, but the trip through a forest of moving brushes and spraying suds had left quite an impression. If that is how exciting I found some spinning sponges and spraying hoses, imagine how I looked forward to a LASER wash?!
We pulled into the line-up for the LASER wash, me sitting bravely in the passenger seat trying to play it cool. I glanced over at Rob. He nonchalantly tapped his fingers on the steering wheel in time to the radio. I marveled at his calm and collected demeanour. We were about to drive into a LASER wash for the first time, EVER and he acted like it was no big deal.
A very mature 20 year old, I worked hard to appear sophisticated and not let on that my excitement was turning into terror. Fearful that my brain would emerge scrambled on the other end, I tried desperately to reason with myself. Surely there were safety measures in place. If there was a significant risk to the public, these things wouldn’t be popping up in every gas station, I told my myself. Despite some evidence to the contrary, surely the government would not be ok with a nation of people with scrambled eggs for brains?
The light flashed green, it was our turn. The door opened and Rob rose to the challenge. Expertly, he drove onto the tracks, stopping in exactly the right place. I was already impressed. Putting our ’88 Chev Beretta into park, he turned to smile at me as the lights began to flash.
A steel u-shaped device began to move, positioning itself over the top of the hood. I sensed our LASER experience was about to begin. So nervous I no longer cared about suave sophistication, I gripped Rob’s hand in fear. Just when I was about to shout for him to drive out of this space age death trap, the metal contraption roared to life and shot out – jets of water?!
My mouth sagged in surprised disappointment. There were no LASER beams zapping away the dirt. Only streams of old-fashioned soap and water. I slumped in my seat as the process unfolded; what a letdown. Instead of emerging through the exit doors glowing and dry, though perhaps slightly radioactive, we emerged dripping wet with no increase in radiation.
Many years later, while sitting in one such LASER car wash with the children, I confessed my ridiculous expectations to Rob. He looked at me incredulously, “You honestly thought LASER beams would zap the dirt off of the car?” he questioned, “How would that even be safe?!” I admit the idea is a little outlandish, but every time we go wash our car, I still feel a little mislead by the signs advertising a LASER wash.
While I was writing, 1 Corinthians 2:9 kept coming to mind. “What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived – the things God has prepared for those who love him.” There are so many things that let us down; that don’t live up to our expectations. Not so with God. He waits to reveal inconceivable wisdom to us through His Spirit today. And someday, His faithful followers can look forward to having their minds blown by what He will reveal.
For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror;
then we shall see face to face.
Now I know in part;
then I shall know fully,
even as I am fully known.
1 Corinthians 13:12