I really dislike having to back up into a garage from a small street. The street outside my work studio is one example. When the neighbor across doesn’t maximize the available parking space outside their gate, half their car grazes loosely into the street and my car tires draw a zipper path on the road as I go 1.5 meter back and forth so many times until I could safely clear the obstacle course to the parking space.
One day I was in a great big rush and found yet again the neighbor’s car taking up public maneuver space. My mind made a lion’s Grroar with imaginary arms on hips and index finger teaching the considerate way to park one’s car.
My mental monologues started. “If you know that the neighbor struggles to park, can you please park closely to your gate?” “You see our street is not wide, right?” “You know that you will move your car when you see me take forever to park in the garage. You couldn’t just make it a point to park properly since you are a professional driver and I am at the bottomest class of drivers. You are waiting for me to issue an invitation for you to position your car the way it should always be?”
When the neighbor’s driver came out to move his car (which he will willingly do when called), my mouth said the right things:
“I’m so sorry, I’m so poor at parking. I’m so sorry to bother you again. I wish I knew how to park the car easily.”
But my heart was really angry. I felt like my flushed face must have betrayed the wrong heart behind the right words. I went in to my work studio and the Lord was quick to convict me. “Okay ka lang? You are trying to be Christ-like?”
Failure again. Sigh!
The next few days, this came back to mind on and off. First, I did not have the fruit of the Holy Spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, self-control) but I put myself on the throne as the one who needs to be understood and not inconvenienced. I was my own lord instead of Jesus being Lord. Second, I commit my life to the Lord and want to live for Him but I was not living out the life of His follower. Pastor Peter’s voice: “If you are not following Jesus, you are not a Christ follower.” Third, I am so grateful to God for showing me how the Word can really transform lives but that instance, I did not let it transform mine. If I like to share His word so people can benefit from it, how will it be appealing to others if I myself am not applying it or I’m not a good representation of it— behaving more like the arrogant enemy rather than the humble Jesus?
The conviction would not go away. So a few days after, I stopped by Tita Lenn’s Yummies on my shop street and got a box of my favorite mini-siopao’s to give to the driver. Already repentant for my arrogance, I continued to ask God to cleanse me and give me a correct humble, peaceable attitude. I rang the neighbor’s doorbell and told the driver (in Tagalog), “This is for you. I’m so sorry for my impatience. I’m really poor at driving. Would it be ok if next time you park, if you can maximize your curb space so there’s room to maneuver on the street?” He said, “Okay.”
And that gave me peace.
A few days after, I went to my work studio and again found the same neighbor’s car a distance from their gate using up part of the maneuvering space. Sigh!
This time with patience, I attempted to back up into my garage. Much to my surprise, with one try, I was able to park. Oh my, the Lord used that originally-irritating situation to re-teach me patience and humility and to refine my car-parking skills as well. Indeed in ALL things, He works for the good of those who love Him.
He’s reminding me of other people I have to make amends with. Help me Lord to make things right!