A few years ago I found a great parking spot at the grocery store. I was thrilled. This spot was the prime spot. It was right up front, right next to the doors, it was perfect. I rushed
into the store to load my arms up with groceries… knowing I had a whole list of
errands still to do and only a limited amount of time on this particular
afternoon. The shopping went well… I
gathered everything I needed pretty quickly: milk, frozen orange juice, bananas,
pull-ups (not for me), a coffee crisp candy bar (this was in Canada— I miss the coffee crisp bars!). In a hurry, I paid for the food and rushed back out to the van ready to charge on to the next
errand. But as soon as I passed through
the doors to the outside world, I noticed that my van didn’t appear well. It was leaning uncomfortably to the back
corner on the driver’s side.
No pressure at all. It looked like a balloon that had blown out
all of its air and I must have looked like a kid whose ice cream cone fell on the ground. And my heart, like the
tire, was deflated. Ugh.
opened the van, put the groceries down, and got the jack out. Because of my
great parking space, everyone who went into the grocery story had to pass by my
van. Every single person who was buying groceries had to walk by me. There was no avoiding my tire trouble. In fact, as I bent down on my knees with the jack in hand, I couldn't help but notice all of the people walking by. I could hear their conversations, listen to the shuffle of their feet, feel the whisk of their breeze as they hurriedly passed. And I remember wondering if anyone would notice.
I worked on positioning the jack in the right spot under my van and began cranking it up. The jack, however, jerked and lurched awkwardly as it began to lift the van and sandwich itself between some metal and plastic near the back wheel well. I tried to pull it out but it was wedged tight. I cranked it down again, but now the jack was hanging precariously from underneath the van stuck in some manufactured crevice. The top of the jack was absolutely pinned in. I tugged a few times, once even falling backwards when my grip slipped. My hands and my nice kaki pants were becoming increasingly filthy with grease and parking-lot-gravel/dirt/tar/stuff. My heart and brain were becoming increasingly frustrated with parking-lot-loneliness/rage/anxiety/stuff. People continued to walk right by… and no one was stopping to express even the slightest empathy.
the Bible there was a man who was on his knees just outside of the city walls
of Jericho. He was in the prime spot,
and also in a situation of need, worse than mine for sure. He was blind, had been for a long time. His condition must have eventually forced him
to beg for a living. He certainly would
have been considered an outcast. Assuredly, it would have been thought, he was stricken by God for some sin or some
wrong that he had committed. Every day,
people would walk right by him. He would have heard their conversations, listened to the shuffle of their feet, felt their breeze as they passed. Countless times he must have thought, “Will anyone notice me today?”
(to be continued tomorrow…)
*"Flat Tire-d" was originally delivered as a sermon 8 eight years ago.