Four Parking Spaces

Today was one where my beloved Woodsman is off from work. I love days like these. As a family, we pile into our minivan and set out on mini-adventures– sometimes to State parks or Museums, sometimes just to the local Walmart (which is still a 20 min drive from home).  

Because it is raining here, today’s mini-adventure took us to Wal-Mart (I hate Wal-Mart, but it’s the only store of its kind within a 60 mile radius, so….). As we pull into a parking space, we notice a big shiny truck parked smack dab in the middle of four parking spaces. 

Now, my first was reaction was one of disgust. Who does this truck owner think he is, that the rules guiding civil behavior do not apply to him in his truck? Then, I decided to give him the benefit of the doubt. Maybe his truck is so large that it requires four spaces? 

There was something about this truck and how it was parked that made me want to wait outside to catch a glimpse of its owner. So, as my Woodsman headed into the store, I chose to sit in the van with the kiddos, parked next to this truck. The truck didn’t appear to be larger than my minivan, which only requires a single parking space, but looks can be decieving, so I pulled out my smartphone and pulled up the dimensions of the make and model. Then I pulled up the dimensions of my minivan. I found they were virtually identical in actual width, and very similar in actual length. Hmmm… There goes my theory that this truck needed four parking spaces….

Then, I started to wonder if it was sheer youthful vanity that convinced this truck owner to take up more than his fair share of alotted space. Certainly, I could empathize with the follies of youth. I myself am not that far removed from them!

As I’m thinking these thoughts, the truck owner returned. I was expecting an arrogant young man, and was somewhat shocked to see a short, balding, overweight 50-something gentleman hurry to open the truck’s driver’s side door.

 Instead of anger or disgust, I immediately felt awash with pity for him. How does someone make it that far in life without learning that human beings are far less important than they think themselves to be? That elevating mere objects above abiding with simple civil expectations for individual behavior runs counter to our Divine purpose, and obstructs our relationships with both God and humankind?

Perhaps, he has failed to realize that life is not found in the abundance of possessions (Luke 12:15). And if that is indeed the case, can there be a more desperate state of human being? To continue to believe that things matter more than the people that matter to God? 

Why does someone like me, roughly 20-25 years younger, see the Truth that he is, apparently, still blinded from? I am not a ‘good person’and he a ‘bad’ one. I am not in a state of spiritual purity that would allow me to no longer see value in expensive, shiny things. I have not lived more life than he. Why the vast difference in philosophies?

And so, I bring these questions to my Lord. He affirms that I am not holier (big surprise there), nor am I more experienced in life than this man… The difference is found in what we both hold to be Truth. I cling to Christ as being the true holder of Truth and objective Reality. I don’t always agree with Him at first, but I do not accept my own assessment of earthly life as being true in and of itself. Quite the opposite– I question my initial understanding because I know I am not God. And as painful as it is to exchange my truth for the Truth, it always results in my good. Which is why I continue to question my self. 

What happens when we neglect to stop, to be still and know God as God (Psalm 46:10)?

Well, we cut ourselves off from the Ultimate Reality, and we transgress ourselves, other humans, and God.

It’s not worth it! As hard as it can be to still our bodies, hearts and minds before God, look at the alternative! 

I do not envy this gentleman, nor his big shiny new truck. My heart goes out to him in his plight, for it is the plight of every human being apart from Christ. I know this to be true, because it once was my plight. 

I wish I had the words for this man, and, if God had willed to speak to him through me, I would have found those words on my lips. But, that’s not what occurred. God is ok with letting us go our own ways for a time– sometimes, until right up to the end of our time here. Is there anything more frightening? That we can choose to will ourselves that far away from the ground of our own true being?

If needing four whole parking spaces is the result of his plight, then I will not contest his use of them, nor waste any time over despising it. It’s a very poor substitute for the rewards of laying down our lives for the sake of Christ (Luke 9:24). His costly error deserves my pity, not my condemnation. And I pray that God in Christ will find a way to speak Truth to his heart, as God in Christ has found a way to speak to mine.


3 thoughts on “Four Parking Spaces

  1. Beautiful reminder that every situation can be an opportunity to communicate with God. Rather than “teaching that jerk a lesson” you instead chose to learn yourself. Thank you for the reminder.

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