Monday, February 16, 2015

Norma's parking dilemma and I have a big realization

Andrea Gold blogged a couple days ago about Valentine's Day. She suggested that we add in giving something to someone to make them feel loved, someone who might not otherwise experience being celebrated.
"So on this Valentine’s Day, I wish you a loving day with your loved one. And/or that you may do an act of kindness for someone else, even a stranger, so they feel loved and not so alone in this world." 
I read her post and realized that while I loved the idea of doing this, it scared me, and so I committed right then to doing it.

***

On Valentine's Day, we arrived at the Marriott for the dance competition and found our gathering spot. Everyone was sitting around on the floor, as there were no chairs. A few smart (or maybe just arthritic) people had thought to bring soccer chairs. The kids were excited, and more so when they each received a gift bag full of Valentines and candy and excitement.

Normally, at dance practice on Tuesdays, I don't say a word to anyone. We are, like most waiting groups these days, all staring at our smart phones. A few extroverts chat with each other. A few announcements are shared at the beginning or end. Practice is only 45 minutes long, so it's very much a waiting time for me.

Because of the excitement and novelty of Saturday's competition, I was a little more available to talk to others and be interested in them. Knowing my propensity for rushing from one thing to the other, I had determined that I was NOT going to rush on Saturday to get to the venue. We left plenty early, and I decided that under no circumstances would I allow myself to feel rushed, or otherwise revved up inside.

When we arrived, the snow was blowing sideways. It was bitter cold outside. We did find a parking spot easily, and I had no trouble figuring out the payment machine. Kepler rushed us from the car to the hotel as he was adamantly opposed to being outside in blowing snow.

With the ease of arriving, and the lack of internal pressure, I was available to interact with the people around me. Norma, a grandmother of one of the dancers, was holding her parking ticket in her hand. Turns out she hadn't been able to figure out how to work the payment machine and had paid for too short a duration. I gave her my full attention and explained to her what needed to happen to keep her car from being ticketed.

Norma was so worried about the parking. She wasn't sure what her parking space number was; she didn't understand why she couldn't pay for more. She hadn't left her ticket on the dash as instructed. She didn't even understand why she had to pay at a machine, rather than to a person.

I realized that here was my Valentine. I walked outside with her, back to the lot, helped her figure out her parking space number, helped her pay for her parking, waiting while she put the ticket on her dash, and then we walked back into the warm hotel. We stuck together for the rest of the day.

This story helped me understand what my blog is for.  My blog witnesses me. That's why I'm not raking in the big numbers of followers. I'm not sharing business tips, popular mothering tips, better ways to live and love and learn. I'm simply about being witnessed by writing in this space. Now, whether or not I have other purposes for blogging yet to be determined, I don't know. But the realization that my blog feeds a deep need I have seems like a fairly big realization.

Where do you feel witnessed?


2 comments:

Suzy Taylor Oakley said...

Susan, I was going to get around to commenting on your previous post, but I'm glad I waited until I read this one.

My take on "praying for a parking space" is to pray for the best outcome for all involved and be open to letting God use me to help others.

I do believe He is a personal God and cares about our circumstances, but in such a way as those circumstances teach us to be better people and draw us closer to Him.

I believe He used you to help the woman in distress over the parking space.

Gold Stars Speakers Bureau said...

Great story and experience -- for both you and the grandmother! You truly were an instrument for caring and love. Such opportunities come in ways both big and small. Loved your story.