I don't know about you, but when I think about a revival I think about back roads, pop up tents, and a preacher ready to lay you out in the holy spirit. But the real definition of the term
noun: revival; plural noun: revivals
an improvement in the condition or strength of something.
I myself have felt revival before. The day I surrendered my life to Jesus Christ, a radical revival of my life happened. I was cold, bitter and not willing to look past tomorrow with any real sense of hope. But when I accepted Christ as my Savior, my life, my heart and my soul made a dramatic change for the better. I became a better person, mother, friend and partner. Honestly I just became a better human being. Years into my salvation, I decided to pursue my passion for Art and do so for the GLORY of GOD. And I've done that. I love that I'm still doing that today. It's my full time job and I am fulfilled daily by following God's calling on my life. A revival indeed had taken place. And a rebirth of my soul had happened. I am so thankful it did. But this is a blog about a VW bus. And the girl who bought it. Also... it very much is a story about revival. It will be, the journey of restoring and reviving a 1974 bus but also a story of my heart... where it is today, and where it's going.
When I was 16, working at a property management office on the weekends, I met a grumpy old maintenance man. His name was John and he was not very nice. In fact most people didn't like him. But John was nice to me. He brought me Mountain Dew and we smoked cigarettes behind the office. Throughout the years, I grew to respect his work, and his life. He had turned his life around many years before. He had done time in prison for thief and was a heroine addict. But John quit heroine cold turkey and instead of using, he filled his life with drawing & painting. He showed me his paintings and he was so talented. He loved art, creating things with his hands and he loved working. John was clean and sober and loved his life.
After the birth of my first son, I started to work in property management on my own. But John came along and was my maintenance guy. He was loyal and dependable. For the better part of 11 years, he and I worked side by side on property projects and in that time we became best friends. John was 25 years older than me, he was a widow, and he lived solely for his work. He made me whatever I asked. There were art show displays, shelves for my home and eventually 6x8 wood VW bus cut outs. He was always a great supporter of my dream of being an artist.
The first time I shared with John my love of VW buses was when he walked into my studio one day and found a painting I had done of one. "You like these things?" he grumbled, as he picked it up. "Yes I love them! I want one so bad but I'll never be able to afford one!" He laughed and told me a story of how his first job was as a mechanic for a VW repair shop called "Love Bugs" and what a pain in the butt VW's were and how I did not want to own one. But I never stopped wanting one. A year later, my husband bought me a 1966 VW Bug and when John pulled up and saw it, he said "why did you get that? I thought you wanted a bus?" And I explained how a bus was 4 times the cost of a bug and I was happy with it. But he responded by saying " You'll never be happy until you get your bus" And John was right. I loved my 66 bug, but I longed for my bus.
Later that year, John was diagnosed with Stage 4 Lung Cancer that had spread to his brain, his ribs, his neck and his lymph nodes. I went right away to the hospital after he called to tell me. We cried and hugged, and then John asked me to be his Power of Attorney. He wanted me to help him decide what to do along the way of treatment. "I have no one but you, Candice" I agreed because he was my best friend and I loved him. 7 months after finding out, and doing 6 rounds of chemo and countless numbers of radiation, my best friend John, died. I was with him the moment he died. I was there, out in the hall unable to stay by his side as he coughed up blood. The doctors came out and asked me " Mrs. Castillo, would you like us to revive him with CPR?" As I fell to the ground on the cold hospital floor, I was unable to make the decision. " Mrs. Castillo, we need you to tell us right now if we should revive him"
"I don't know! NO! No he didn't want that, the nurse was there, ask her! She was there, he didn't want to be revived!" I screamed to them. Then 4 minutes later, they came out and told me he was gone.
That night as I tried to sleep I kept saying " I killed him didn't I? I didn't allow them to revive him" While John's battle with cancer was over, my battle of guilt, and grief had just begun. My heart felt like it had been torn into pieces. Life as I had known it...carefree and full of laughter was darken by watching John bleed out in front of me. Darken with PTSD and guilt that I had not revived him.
The weeks went on, heavy with grief and sadness. I had to head to Kansas for an art retreat and while there felt the full weight of settling John's estate and handling his affairs. A friend of ours lives out there and he came and picked me up. The next day we spent talking about John and how I could honor him. How John wanted certain things for me in his will, and how he had asked that I do certain things with my life for my family. Then we pulled up along this old rusty VW bus and I asked if we could stop and look at it. I took this photo.
The bus was beat up and looked a lot like the heart that was beating inside my chest. I walked around the bus and felt a strong sense of John as I ran my fingers over the rusted paint. Our friend said " He wanted you to have a house, and technically this is a house. You could live in if you needed too, because look it's a camper!" We laughed. I got on a plane the next morning and I headed home to San Diego.
But the bus, that clementine orange rusty bus never left my thoughts. A week later our friend called to tell me that the bus was mine. I just needed to get it home.
On Thursday night, she got here.
When they finally got her off the Transporter and my husband saw her for the first time, and I saw her in daylight, the realization of her restoration and revival was a little shocking. I mean there is some major work that needs to be done.
And it's all a little scary. But, That Girl Clementine, the 74 Camper bus needs a revival. And Cc, the 30 something mom to 3 kids, wife to an understanding man, colorful artist who just lost her best friend is in need of a revival too.
So here's to a REVIVAL. Which by definition is an improvement in the condition or strength of something. My heart. My bus. Our Journey. God has already written this story, this will just be my narrative as we go.