Daily Archives: February 13, 2015

Should we pray for a good parking space?

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.

The Grace of Reaching Out

created by Kepler, February 2015

When I awoke yesterday, I was completely dismayed to discover that my wicked bad sore throat was back in spades. The idea that I was getting better was completely decimated. In desperation, I reached out and asked for help.

I let three lovely someones know that I was in pain, struggling, and in need. All three immediately responded. Throughout the day, I was blessed by my angels putting Kepler on the bus, rubbing my feet, making me smoothies, soothing me with a warm cloth, picking up the slack for all the driving I was supposed to do, washing my damn dishes, getting Kepler off the bus, and speaking words of support and love. 
Even writing that paragraph is difficult if I focus on the fact that I was in such a low position, one where I could do little more than receive. 
On the other hand, I love it when I have the opportunity to do something for someone who truly needs me. I know the women I reached out to; they all have giving hearts, and I believe they treasured the opportunity to give. 
So, I accept it. When the critical voice scrapes across my consciousness, I remind myself that I believe in interdependence; that we all need a little help from our friends and family; that the presence of need means I am human, not defective. 
With the space provided by my mom and sisters, I could finally think about turning down the intensity and volume of my everyday existence. Remember I mentioned being overwhelmed. I noticed that every nook of my bedside table was full to overflowing. Before bed, I decided to calm that space down. The drawer is slightly larger than an iPad box. It’s pretty tiny. Here’s what I pulled out of the drawer: mail, 3 pocket knives, a shot glass, jewelry, nail clipper, lip balm, unopened medicine spoon, earbuds, 27 vials of prescription eye drops that i do not use, replacement earbud pads, lightbulbs, trash, glasses cleaning cloth, a key, ink pens, wristwatch, lifesavers, a 2 oz bottle, mouthguard, a little black mysterious thing, and a scrunchy. That is a ridiculous amount of stuff to have jammed into that tiny drawer. 
Now that I’ve solidified my reputation as a packrat extraordinaire, let’s just focus on the fact that the sheer volume of what I had stuffed in that drawer is kind of a perfect little picture of what I’ve been doing with all my “too much.” Stuffing it here and there. And there. Here’s more. And under there. 
Everyone needs the space to clear their space, and I’m sure that means different things for different people. This illness has been a time for me to slow down long enough to notice the pot I’m boiling in. 
For someone with as strong a Meyer’s Briggs “J” as I have, I LOVE the journey. I love the opportunities that arise to learn. I love sharing my journey with others.

What are your tried and true methods for clearing YOUR space?