Stories From Our City | The Shop

Safe Space, Grace and Patience Lived Out at The Shop

Story shared by Rob McTaggart, Youth Worker of The Shop

(The photo is not of the young person mentioned below.)

Young person power washing car

Recently, I was detailing a car with one of the youth in our program named Jared*.

Jared is only fifteen, the youngest age we accept into our program, and he doesn't have much work experience. He comes to The Shop through a referral from a probation officer because he got in trouble with the law after having issues at home. Now he needs to complete community service hours with us.

Detailing isn't the most exciting job, especially when it's a crusty, fifteen-year-old Nissan X-Trail like the one we were working on. I could tell Jared wasn't super thrilled, but these kinds of jobs are important as we teach the youth to work hard as well as to show them the day-to-day jobs of a real shop.

We'd finished the first few steps, and Jared started on the vacuuming while I finished up some of the scrubbing. He was about ten minutes into it before I wondered to myself, "Is this car getting MORE dirty?" I looked around and saw that Jared had the hose in the wrong side of the shop vac and was blowing air out instead of sucking it in. This caused all the dirt and debris to be blown back over the surfaces we'd just spent forty-five minutes cleaning.

It was both hilarious and frustrating, but in the moment I was definitely more frustrated. All I could do in the moment was say, "You know what, let's just move on to the pressure washing."

Later as I was reflecting, I was reminded of a verse in the Bible which says:
"Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth." (1 John 3:18)

It's one thing for us to talk about Christ-like qualities like patience, love, wisdom, truth, etc. but it's quite another for people like Jared to see the transformation Christ brings and the fruit of the Spirit in us. With Jared's home situation, maybe he hasn't seen someone respond to his mistakes with grace and patience instead of anger. Plus, it was an important reminder to me of the need to take every opportunity to respond as Jesus would.

It's amazing that often those who minister receive the ministry too! Thank God He gave me the ability in that moment to respond with at least a passable amount of grace and patience. As they say, "But for the grace of God, go I."