Who’s the guy that said something inspirational about your true character being revealed through trial?
Was it Winston Churchill? He sounds like someone who would say something like that.
Eh, I’ll figure it out. Anyway, the whole point of that opening quote was to set you up for the story, so now you know what you’re in for.
Let’s set the scene, shall we? It’s a chilly Saturday afternoon in San Francisco. I am on a break from a Communications course I’m taking through Landmark Worldwide. I’ve been taking these personal development courses through Landmark since September of last year, and my world has been getting transformed. As a 31-year-old single dude, I could not think of a better gift for my future marriage than to get a headstart on learning how to communicate with the future woman I will spend the rest of my life with. This course has been incredible so far, and it’s only the first day! Things are getting illuminated to me that I never thought about, and my world is getting rocked for the better.
That is, until I get a text from my mom.
You knew that was coming, didn’t you? The setup, and then the inciting incident! I’m getting better at this stuff.
My mom’s message reads “Did you write a check to Manuel Cory Evans?”
“I have no idea who that is,” I replied.
“You better call Chase,” she said.
So, I get on the phone and contact the Chase representative that left me a voicemail, and I find out that someone tried to cash one of my personal checks at one of their branches in Richmond, CA.
How on earth would someone in Richmond have access to my checkbook, you ask? Easy. In my absentmindedness, I made a couple of not-so-smart decisions. The first being that I forgot to take my checkbook out of my glove compartment in my car after writing a check to pay a bill. The second being parking my car in the BART parking lot in Richmond, CA.
Calmly, I call the BART police station and ask them to check on my car and see if there had been a break-in. I give them the parking space number and the description of my car, and wait for them to call me back. I get a voicemail two hours later telling me that they couldn’t find my car in the parking space.
What is surprising to me is how calmly I’m going about this as it’s happening. I think this would have sent the old Ryan into a panic where I end up in the fetal position crying for my mom. Not this Ryan, though. This Ryan is solid as a rock. Seriously, though, what is there to do? I can’t do anything until I’m able to get back to Richmond after the course is over on Monday morning. So, there’s no use panicking about it at this point.
I decided that I was going to be in action and get all the information I needed so that when I got back to Richmond to file a police report, I was going to be ready. This entailed back-and-forth phone calls between my dad and I, exchanging information like registration numbers, account numbers, VIN numbers, etc.
During this time, the Communications course is still going on, and I am learning so much about how I have been withholding communication from people I love just because they don’t communicate in a way that I understand. A good example of this would be my communication with my dad. My relationship with my dad is fine, it’s not like there’s anything dire going on, but I’ve always felt like there was a lack of love from his end because he is not the kind of person who would audibly say it. Call it a generational thing, or something else, I’m not sure. But I’ve always had a hard time communicating with my dad because I’m someone who definitely expresses my emotions audibly. When I wouldn’t hear from my dad that he loves me, sometimes it has a hard time sinking in that he does.
Love is communicated in many different ways. As the course leader for the Communications course said this weekend, “Love begins in listening.” I was so focused on how I liked love being communicated to me, that I almost missed how my dad was expressing his love for me by what he was doing. Here is a man who jumped in to give me all the information I needed in order to get a jump on getting my car back, even though it didn’t sound like recovering it was going to happen. A parent who didn’t love their child wouldn’t bother. It got me thinking about every other time my dad had stepped in to my aid when I really needed it throughout the years. If it wasn’t for him having a conversation over burgers with me, I would have never changed my major from Music Industry to English, where I fell in love with the written word.
During one of our phone conversations that weekend, as I was really getting present to the love my dad had for me, I felt the urgency to speak up. I said, “Listen, dad, I know we don’t say that we love each other often, but I wanted to let you know that I see it. I see it in the way you’ve been helping me with this car thing, and the way you’ve given me advice, and I can’t tell you how much I appreciate it. I just wanted to say that I love you very much.”
There was an awkward pause on his end, followed by an “…Okay…”, and then I hear, “I love you, Ryan.”
The day after I file a police report for my car with with BART Police Department (who were amazing, by the way. Shoutout to Officer Soto), and get a rental car secured, I get a call from my mom, telling me that my dad had found a car that was the same make, model, and color, that someone was selling in San Jose, and my dad bought it for me on the spot.
I couldn’t believe it. I was going to have a new car by the time I got home, and since it was the same make and model, it would be like my car never left me.
Fast forward to the next day, and I see this in the driveway.
If I ever had a doubt in my mind that my dad loved me, it ended for sure after that weekend.
I feel like it’s the same way with God. I like the New Living Translation of Psalm 103:2, “Let all that I am praise the LORD; may I never forget the good things he does for me.” There are going to be times that God’s voice seems silent and His presence is distant, but it’s a lie. And it’s when we remember the breakthroughs that He has brought us through in the past, we start seeing exactly how much He loves us.
Oh, by the way, they ended up finding my stolen car abandoned on the side of the road in Antioch, CA. It was intact with minimal damage to the outside. The inside, however, was a different story. I did find it funny that they had taken virtually everything in the car, but left behind my mother’s rosary that I had hanging on the rearview mirror. That good ol’ Catholic guilt goes a long way!
Oh, and one more thing: They also caught the guy who stole it. When they got my car, it was full of many other stolen goods, which included clothes, makeup, credit cards, social security numbers, etc. He’s currently in custody and I’m awaiting the call to press charges. I gotta say, it was fun playing detective and working with the police, giving them all the information I had on the suspect in order to track him down.
Here’s to one of the most eventful weeks I’ve had in years, and I’m so glad it has a happy ending!