Monday, August 10, 2009

Lessons from a Parking Garage

You can tell a lot about a person from the way they act in a parking garage. There’s something about the parking garage experience that either brings out the best or the worst in people.

Most people are in a hurry in a parking garage. Many times, I have watched as hurried people fly through a parking garage, not only endangering themselves, but others. Then they miss spaces that are hidden behind large vehicles, because they’re driving too fast to notice them. Similarly, we tend to move too quickly through life. That’s a dangerous thing to do! We might not see obstacles in our way, and risk collision with other precious souls. We also miss hidden opportunities if we go too fast, wasting time by our own hurry. Proverbs 14:29 says, “A patient man has great understanding, but a quick-tempered man displays folly.” This applies in parking garages, and everywhere in life.

People can be terribly rude in a parking garage. A “me-first” attitude can cause people to steal spaces that other drivers have already claimed with their turn signals. It can make them stop and wait for someone who’s slowly walking to their car, just so they can get that person’s spot. Never mind that the driver has a long line behind him and could probably get another spot quicker by just moving on and finding a spot further up the ramp. He has to hold up the entire line, because he thinks he’s more important than everybody else. This kind of person would do well to remember Philippians 2:3, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.”

People are often fearful in a parking garage. They’re afraid of getting hit by those drivers who go too fast. They’re afraid of those rude people who might slow down and follow them to their cars, just to take their parking spot—and who knows what else. They’re afraid they might forget where they parked. Have you ever noticed how many scary scenes in movies are filmed in parking garages? They make us nervous. We’re out of our element, surrounded by strangers, often in the shadows where anybody could be hiding. But rather than walking confidently with keys in hand, I have observed many in parking garages who travel with the frightened bearing of a victim. 2 Timothy 1:7 tells us that “God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.” Instead of fear, we need to walk in faith.

Yes, you can tell a lot about a person from the way they act in a parking garage. What do parking garages say about you? I pray we will all learn to be a little kinder, not only in garages, but in life. Galatians 5:22-23 reminds us that , “the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.” Let’s learn to both drive and walk in the Spirit, so that when people see us, they might see followers of God.

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