Concrete Circus

I think sometimes we underestimate the value in parking lots.

In a fast-moving world, with all sorts of outer and inner chaos, there’s something so special about a place where you literally stop. For most of my life, parking lots have merely been a place of oil stains, random liquid deposits, McDonald’s cups, and half-puffed cigs. Tonight, however, as I sat in my car and gazed up at the pharmacy sign on the building in front of me, I realized my true appreciation for the concrete circus. My sister and I had just talked about loneliness (and the ways in which we seek to fill it), community (and what it should look like), and the ways in which the Lord moves in random circumstances (even if it seems as though He’s doing nothing). In that moment, I was thankful for the parking lot.

Several years ago, I was pulling out of a parking space when I saw the woman next to me. Although she appeared normal, by all external measures, what she was doing caught my attention. With her music up and her hands up in the air, she sang the song on her radio as hard as she possibly could. Maybe, she was worshiping. Whatever was going on, it was beautiful. I bet she was thankful for that parking lot.

In college, I lived with three other girls. If someone was blow-drying their hair, we all heard it. If someone had a horrible case of the sniffles, we all fell victim to its repetition. And if someone needed to have a beyond-the-surface-level conversation…they escaped to the parking lot. It was quiet and completely trustworthy. In that lot, I shared with my sister the fears I had in overcoming addiction. Not only that, but I broke up with boys, cried with my mom in the midst of sorrow and confusion, and rejoiced in the union of close friends. There, I examined my Bible, and jotted down my thoughts. I prayed and I reflected. It was wonderful. I was so thankful for the solitude it provided.

A couple of days ago, my friend and I were sitting in my car talking about God’s love for us. We were parked outside of my apartment, but the conversation needed the silence, so we sat there instead.

Tonight, I found something beautiful in a slab of concrete. In the eye of crazy schedules and too-many-things-to-do, the parking lot gave me an excuse. It made me stop. The beauty wasn’t in the clearly defined almost-rectangular designs but was in something else.

Perhaps, was in the permission to rest.

So here’s my ode to parking lots! As crazy and off-the-wall as it may seem, I am grateful for them. Were it not for their purpose in stopping me, I may have bypassed many things.

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