For as long as I can remember, the parking situation on my street has been pretty bad; too many houses, not enough car space, and yesterday, I had ‘words’ with a new neighbour (who I’ve never met before).
I arrived home late, tired and hungry and joy of joys, as I pulled up, I spotted the last remaining parking bay – the visitors’ space. (sorry, visitors!).
As I got out of the car, a person (presumably a new neighbour) from top floor window yelled at me, ‘you CAN’T park there!!’
Me (looking about to see where the shouting was coming from). “Err, why?”
“Because it’s NOT really a parking space and now you’re blocking me in.”
I looked to where she was pointing and the gap between her car and mine was huge. Unless she was the kind of driver who regularly does 78-point-turns, there was no way I would be ‘blocking her in’.
She was obviously feeling irked and was clearly demanding that I move my car instantly. And because she’d been so rude (and I’m so stubborn), there was pretty much NO way I was going to do that. I said, ‘ok, thanks for letting me know’ and walked in the house. I heard her shout something to my departing back….and I’m fairly sure she wasn’t offering a blessing on my household and livestock.
When I got in, a red hot ball of fury bubbled up in my guts. It was clear to me she was being ridiculously awkward. And even if she wasn’t, was there any need to be so rude and confrontational? If she’d been nice and calm, I would have found another place to park. But if she thought I was moving it for her, then she was sadly mistaken.
Who the hell did she think she was?
And then, just as the ‘hell’ word formed in my mind and I resolved to always park in that space from now on, in order to specifically annoy her, that cooling, calming voice of God cut through the nonsense.
Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy.
But I didn’t START IT!!
So? Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy.
Oh for crying out loud, now I have to MOVE MY CAR. And she’ll see me do it and be incredibly smug, thinking she won.
Suddenly it struck me just how ridiculously childish I was being. So what, if she ‘won’? Was it really a competition to see which neighbour could be meaner than the other?
Later, when I looked up that verse, turns out its in Hebrews and the whole verse actually says; Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.
Did I really want to be responsible for my neighbour being unable to ‘see the Lord’? All for the sake of a stupid parking space?
So, I took the walk of shame (singing cheerily as I went, to show her that I really didn’t care) and moved my car. As I walked back to the house, I realised how easy a little bit of stubborness can escalate into something much more ugly. Was proving a point, really worth the risk of a war with my neighbour? And more importantly, what if she twigs that I go to church? If we were ever to have a decent conversation, do I really want to be The Christian Who Wouldn’t Move Her Car?
I hate being the the one to ‘give in’, but sometimes stubbornly proving a point, just isn’t worth the eternal consequences.