She’s not really going to do it, is she?
The woman in the BMW was edging closer and closer toward the front of my car.
Columbus, lunch hour, Christmas shopping chaos. It was complete gridlock and this woman was holding up 6 cars behind her as she insisted on sneaking between my car and the one in front of me in order to turn into a parking lot that had another entrance 50 feet down the lane. I had no where to go and neither did the car in front of me because BMW Lady was creating a standstill.
I wanted to get mad at her. I really did. I wanted to roll down my window and tell her she was a crazy so-and-so. I wanted to give her the bird.
I wanted to, but then I remembered.
Just last week, I was tired. I was sapped of emotional and physical energy. I was on my way to record five podcast interviews and I desperately needed a large peppermint mocha to make that happen.
Our Uptown parking is tough. No way, no how was I going to find a spot anywhere near the coffee shop. I only needed one teeny tiny spot for like 4 minutes. I was desperate.
That’s when I got the brilliant idea to pull into a spot marked “Business Loading Zone.”
There were 3 of those spots in a row and I knew if I pulled way up, it would leave plenty of room in the off chance that a big delivery truck pulled up in the 4 minutes I was in the coffee shop.
Feeling a touch guilty and a teensy bit worried that I might get towed, I ran into the coffee shop. My gut sank when I saw the 5 people already waiting in line. This is not going to take 4 minutes.
I should’ve turned around right there and scrapped the whole idea, but I was beaten down. I needed a warm, sweet treat more than I needed air in that moment.
So I stuck it out and 15 minutes later walked back to my car.
I immediately looked at the windshield. No ticket. Thank you Jesus.
As my mittened hand took the handle of the car, I heard a gruff voice come up behind me.
“Ma’am. Did you not see the big red sign attached to this meter?”
It was the parking attendant. She was trying very hard not to yell at me, but it wasn’t working, and I immediately felt like the size of a small lump of coal.
I had no good excuse. I was busted for arrogantly thinking my needs came above the needs of the rest of the community.
And I was on my way to record my kindness podcast. Ugh. How can I be so close to getting it right and so far at the same time?
I apologized to the parking attendant. We didn’t exactly leave as friends, but she didn’t give me a ticket.
The rest of the day, I felt like a terrible person. I had broken the rules and made someone very angry, and I can’t remember the last time I had done either of those things.
That’s what I was thinking as I sat behind the wheel a few days later, watching one woman in a BMW flirt with hitting my car and messing up loads of traffic around her.
Instead of feeling really angry at her like I thought I should, I felt compassion.
I wondered where her mind was… and how she slept last night… and if she has a group of girlfriends she can do life with.
I was in no position to judge. So instead I just wondered.
In light of my recent experiences, I thought it was sort of funny when I stumbled onto this week’s memory verse: “If you think you are too important to help someone, you are only fooling yourself. You are not that important.” Galatians 6:3 (NLT)
May God continue to remind me (and you, if you need it) that the main reason we must make an effort to always give grace to others is because we need it so often for ourselves.