No More Trucks in the Driveway

“Dear Evan Hansen’s” spin on the Good News

No More Trucks in the Driveway

“Dear Evan Hansen’s” spin on the Good News

This article is by Connor Lund

“Dear Evan Hansen” is a coming-of-age story that follows a socially awkward and anxious high school senior who struggles to fit in. Following a tragedy, Evan gets caught in a web of lies which forces him to choose between telling the truth (something he doesn’t do well) or allowing his lies to hurt the people he cares about. If he tells the truth, he’ll be able to stop the damage his lies have inflicted on the family of a recently deceased boy, Connor. If he continues on his path of deceit, he’ll live under the false guise of a hero as he romantically pursues Connor’s sister, Zoe. As the walls of the room start closing in on Evan, his often-distant working and single mother, Heidi, finally catches him red-handed. 

Evan’s Dad left the family when he was just a boy and has been absent ever since. It’s not hard at this point to put the pieces together and realize that Evan’s desire to be known stems back from never being accepted by his father. The focus now turns to Heidi, who explains the day Evan’s dad left through the song “So Big / So Small” by Rachel Bay Jones.


After recounting Evan’s final goodbye before his Dad left in his truck, Heidi readily admits her inability to be the parent she wanted to be. 


And the house felt so big, and I felt so small

The house felt so big, and I—

And I knew there would be moments that I’d miss

And I knew there would be space I couldn’t fill

And I knew I’d come up short a billion different ways

And I did

And I do

And I will


And yet, her steadfast love for her son hasn’t faded. She remembers her son asking her at a later point, “Is there another truck coming to our driveway? A truck that will take Mommy away?”

Even when her son has broken her trust through lies, deceit, and motives of selfish gain for his own comfort, Heidi reminds her son of who she is:


But like that February day

I will take your hand, squeeze it tightly and say

There’s not another truck in the driveway

Your mom isn’t going anywhere

Your mom is staying right here

No matter what

I’ll be here

When it all feels so big

‘Til it all feels so small


We’ve all become accustomed to a conditional love that says it will stick with us if we continue to behave, check the boxes, or not mess up past a certain point. Brokenness runs deeply in each of our personal and familial histories. It’s easy to feel like the rope of grace we have been given is either too short or too frail, eventually and inevitably snapping, leaving us ousted from the love and commitment we so desperately want and need.


For Evan, it was an actual father who left. For me, it was a broken friendship that left me feeling like a failure. Maybe for you, it was a spouse or significant other who abandoned you when you couldn’t hold up your end of the bargain. Or a friend group that gave you the cold shoulder when your utility ran its course. Whatever it is, we’re all afraid to be “on the outside looking in…” to reference another song from the soundtrack. 


In the story of the prodigal son, in Luke 15, we see the heart of Jesus towards us weak and weary sinners and outcasts. In the story, the son who had once comped his father’s money, spit in his face, and squandered it all on foolish and carnal gains, now returns in desperate hopes to beg for a place to sleep and be fed in his father’s house. He probably felt like his rope of grace had snapped long ago. But what happens next is nothing short of breathtaking:


It says: “But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet. And bring the fattened calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate. For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.’ And they began to celebrate.”


It’s hard to put into words just how radical this kind of love is. The directionality of this love, from father to son, could not be overturned by any amount of lies, deceit, and terrible life choices that the wayward son could concoct. Unlike the failed parent who leaves us and forsakes us, God, though he catches us red-handed time and time again as we blunder through this life, sings the song of the cross over us, reminding us that, with him, “There will never be another truck in the driveway. I love you simply because I love you, not based on what you’ve done or not done, but by my own sacrifice. Come inside, the party has already begun. And it will last forever.”