Sunday, December 7, 2014

Grey

How quick the heart is to judge and turn sour! If it weren't for the Holy Spirit, I would have made an ass of myself in only one day of moving to a new apartment. Instead, I now have a friend.

There was a bright red car parked in my assigned spot for the last day and a half. To say the least, I was a little upset. The rule-follower in me wanted to write a scathing note shaming them and making them feel terrible. How dare a guest park in a car port - over night, even! Don't people have respect for the rules?

But instead I slept on it, and in the morning wrote a very neutral note: "Please don't park here anymore. Thanks." This evening, the car was moved a few spots down. I removed my note from their wind shield wiper, grateful that they complied. They had parked in a guest spot, which surely confirmed that they weren't a resident.

I put my salmon in the oven and unpacked my second load of possessions from my previous rental. I barely got as much stuff in my car as I did due to being tired and a bit discouraged. At least unpacking would be fast and then I could eat, go to bed, and go to work the next day.

When I was finally done, an old black woman got my attention from the stairs of her apartment, standing by her apartment door. "I'm sorry I was parking my car in your spot, neighbor." My stomach dropped.

Mary is 80 years old. After serving this country in the military, she got her own home. She had lived in that home for 40 years before it had begun sinking into the ground. An engineer from the city told her she had better dump the place because it was going to bring her nothing but trouble, so she put up the land for sale, but got nothing for the house. She had worked on that house with her bare hands. She had nailed in her roofing tiles on her own many times over. When she left, forty years demanded their dues from her wrinkled eyes.

When she first moved to these apartments, someone was parked in her spot. Being new to the establishment, she didn't want to barge in changing rules, so she thought perhaps that spot was given to her in error and settled for parking in a different car port. No one complained, so she stayed in it until a young, naive, 23 year old, working, white boy moved in and was assigned the spot in which she currently parked.

How glad I am that the Holy Spirit speaks to even a self-righteous heart such as mine. For if it did not, I would not have learned the lesson tonight that not everything is black and white. And I would not have met my first friend in these apartments.

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