The Bud’s Warehouse donation truck was missing in action.
Our donation coordinator, Lanny, had been calling the truck for several hours that day 9 years ago with no success in reaching our driver. At the same time, frustrated product donors were informing us that our truck was not arriving as promised.
We had a problem.
Lanny and I jumped in our cars and started driving around to see if we could find our truck. About an hour later, he found it abandoned in the middle of 225. We were barely able to start it and drove it straight to the mechanic.
I later found out that our driver stopped for lunch and made some bad personal choices. The truck then mysteriously broken down. The mechanics later told us they had never seen anything like this. Some silicon had clogged the fuel line and shut down the truck.
We had to let our truck driver go. It is always upsetting when one of our program participants, seeking to rebuild a life from prison, addiction or homelessness, has to be dropped from the program. Bud’s is a place of grace but the reality is that there are a limited number of slots in our program. And if someone repeatedly shows that they are unwilling to do their part in the rebuilding process, we have to open spots for others that need the chance and are eager for the opportunity.
Over the last 11 years, I’ve seen over and over that our biggest “failures” often become our greatest successes. When someone blows it in our program they come face to face with their responsibility in making bad choices. They discover that if they failed in a graceful program that actively seeks to help them succeed, maybe they do have a problem that needs to be addressed. And then they undertake that hard work of change.
Last month, our former driver graduated from college with a Bachelors degree and an exciting career ahead of him. As is often the pattern, his mistake at Bud’s caused him to face some very real problems in his life. Over the next 9 years, he recommitted to his faith and did the hard work of rebuilding his life. He didn’t finish the Bud’s program, but it was the point where he discovered he needed help.
I love how God’s in the business of bringing new life to that which is broken. And how God’s grace often flips our understanding of success and failure.