|image from clipart panda.com|
I read a blog post today by a thespian I have mad respect and love for. His question was “Should we pray for a good parking space?” I’m really hung up on this question. His point was that if we have a close, personal relationship with god, of course we will ask him for things like this because it’s just like we would talk to someone we love sitting in the car with us. So, I get his point. Kinda.
But I’m hung up on the question because I can’t really imagine asking god for a good parking space, even back when asking god for things was something that I did. There have been countless times when Kepler needed me to carry him, and I just did it, without thinking about it. I mean, I recognized when I was walking far, carrying this 54 lb. child, but I would have just never thought of praying and asking god to provide a parking space for me by the door.
First of all, I’m strong. Whenever we go to the doctor, there are often elderly people walking slowly to the door, clearly unwell. I’m cool with parking wherever a space appears and letting the universe sort out everything. By the same token, there are now spots at my pediatrician office that say “Special Needs only.” And I park there without blinking. I don’t know if they mean Down syndrome special needs or not, but it is tremendously helpful to be able to park closer, especially in bad weather.
Secondly, is a parking place close to the door always a good one? There’s something really bugging me about this. Again, I think of the 90yo woman or man, maybe less steady on their feet, maybe with greatly reduced flexibility and stamina. I guess there are people for whom the task of going to the store is really overwhelming, and parking in space 2 is going to make it manageable whereas parking in space 54 will tax their lungs and muscles.
But for able-bodied, relatively healthy people, walk!
I guess maybe I’m missing the point of his article. If I have a cozy relationship with god, I’d want to ask for every little thing, I guess? God, please let there be the pasta I like at the store today? God, can you make the traffic lights green since I am late? God, hey, can you help me find my missing shoe real quick? God, please help me remember the answers to the biology test? Just seems to me like that’s not taking responsibility for myself, and not being willing to adjust to things as they are.
I suppose it just doesn’t really work for me to outsource things like this. And, probably, bottom line, it’s been a long time since I really believed god was that involved in daily life kind of things. I guess, for people who do believe that, getting a parking space, or the last Vera Bradley in that pattern feels like god is paying attention to them. I much prefer taking things as they come, and sussing out the little gems in the gifts that are different than I had imagined.
So is it really a faith issue? A relationship issue? A preference? Maybe all of the above? Maybe I’m just leaning more toward a Buddhist understanding of suffering, that is, being attached to an outcome is what leads to suffering. Please note, I am not talking about people who are in abusive situations, or abject poverty, or dying in a famine. I’m talking about people like me, who are among the wealthiest people in the world, not only in financial terms, but also relational, social, artistic, cultural, geographical, and educational.
No, I don’t think I’ll be asking god to provide a nice parking place for me. If I were going to ask for anything, I think it would be to be aware when one of those 90yo people needs an arm or a hand; to notice the people around me and be willing to connect if the opportunity arises.