You Can't Park There!!

I was at Trader Joe's earlier and right after I pulled into my parking space, I heard a shrill sounding voice, screaming. I looked up to see a woman yelling at me, "You can't park there! It's a handicapped spot! You can't park there!" 

I was totally caught off guard and rolled down my window to say, "Excuse me?" She repeated. So, I apologized and said I thought it was a 15 minute parking space. Said I would never intentionally take a handicapped spot. She didn't look like she believed me.

When I pulled out, it was confirmed: I was NOT in a handicapped spot, but rather a 15 minute space...the same one I almost always park in. I moved to a new space and another equally non-handicapped person took mine. It was so tempting to defend myself once I got inside the store. My boys were insistent that I "tell that lady." But I didn't.

I saw that she did have difficulty walking and thought about how it probably is really frustrating when she can't get a spot close to the door, because someone parked in the handicapped spaces out of convenience, not need. It probably happens a lot. I get it.

However, the lesson here is that our own issues and frustrations can skew reality. They cause us to react to things that aren't even real...we see through our own set of lenses, not realizing they are a little smudged. We see disrespect and violation where it isn't. Or we interpret things from our own perspective, not realizing there are other equally legitimate viewpoints. 

And on the flip side, perhaps we can give mercy to the over-reactors, realizing they have issues of their own...whether they know it or not. Most people mean well. Honestly, we are probably all the over-reactors at one time or another. We just need a clean pair of glasses with a side of understanding.


You Learn

This afternoon I was in the car and decided to listen to my iPod for the first time in ages. I was going to put it on shuffle and just see what popped up, but I saw that there was something by Alanis Morissette on there. I wondered what on earth it was and it turned out to be "You Learn." I listened to it and immediately was taken back to another time in my life.

You need to understand my thing with music. I'm not musical, exactly, but I love music and my entire life has a soundtrack. Every season has music associated with it, and when I hear the songs I remember exactly what was happening in my life, and what I was feeling, when it was popular.

Now don't hate because I am having a moment with Alanis...yes she was super angsty and angry, but whatever. The lyrics that jumped out at me were these:

"You live you learn
You love you learn
You cry you learn
You lose you learn
You bleed you learn
You scream you learn

You grieve you learn
You choke you learn
You laugh you learn
You choose you learn
You pray you learn
You ask you learn
You live you learn"

This song spoke to me at a time when I found myself in a life-altering circumstance. I had made some choices that were going to forever change my life. There was anxiety and uncertainty; I had confided in a friend who betrayed my confidence; I felt judging eyes on me constantly; I was the subject of much gossip; I felt lonely and abandoned most of the time.

In the midst of all of that I was driving down Eastdale Road South, in Montgomery, and this song was on the radio. Listening to the words, I felt like God came to me and assured me that everything was going to be okay, even though I had wandered pretty far away fom Him. Yes, through  an Alanis  Morissette song, of all things,, I received the peace and confidence I needed to keep walking forward.

"You live, you learn...you choose, you learn." So I didn't do things as I should have...let's move forward. Learn from it. Grow from it. "You're going to be okay." I really believed it.

Listening to it again today I realized how much it's true that just about everything of value that I have on the inside has come through difficulty. He has met me every time. Every single time. He has not failed me. He has corrected my course, when needed; He has healed my heart; He has provided; He has comforted.

I found myself totally in awe of how He does that. And totally thankful. I don't like difficulties and hard days, but when He takes something hard and makes it beautiful, I don't see it the same way anymore. I'm learning who He is and who I am, through every difficulty that comes along.

I've lived, I've chosen, I've grieved, I've laughed, I've cried, I've lost...and I've learned. I've learned that if I am following Him, then He takes messes and brings beauty. He takes mourning and turns it into dancing. He takes sadness and turns it into joy.

That's who He is. It's what He does.