Wednesday, 22 September 2021

Like parking, your actions affect others

SOMETIMES, in situations of dire need, I am left in charge of the church office.

Not the money, of course, although I am allowed to fiddle with the photocopier.

Once the heat and light are switched on (and barring emergencies), there isn’t much to do apart from the vital job of extending a welcome to the fascinating cross-section of humanity who use the Christ Church Centre, a task genuinely full of interest.

In the quiet periods there is either a good book to read or the CCTV which monitors the car park to look at.

A few weeks ago I was in the office first thing in the morning, when the car park is normally empty, and my attention was caught by the first visitor of the day who drove in and proceeded to park.

The car park was empty but the driver was determined to do the job properly — there are few things more annoying than someone using two spaces to park a single car in a full car park — and knew that it would fill up later on.

The amount of back and forth, toing and froing needed to properly park that car in a totally empty car park was a marvel to behold.

Having done the job, got out and removed bags from the boot, the driver clearly wasn’t happy so got back in and had another go.

The result was perfection itself but why was it so hard?

Then it dawned on me. The driver couldn’t see the lines. It was a pretty big car and the aim was clearly to go forwards into the space (when reversing one can use the wing mirrors), so the driver couldn’t truly see where they were heading.

Had there been other cars there already parked properly they would have simply sailed in between them.

Life is like this. By the way we live, as individuals, we help others to see where the lines are within which a fulfilling life can be lived. By our “actions” much more than by what we say.

There are plenty of folk (not just some ministers of religion) who preach tolerance and are utterly intolerant of any who disagree with them, who espouse generosity and hold on to money as tightly as they can.

Other people, family, neighbours, even complete strangers, may well use the way you act, or don’t act, to help them chart their own course in life, to understand what works (or not) and what is acceptable (or not). You may never be aware of it, but it is happening all the time.

Christians would, of course, say that the place to see where the lines which shape a life worth living are drawn most clearly is in the life of Jesus, there in the New Testament.

You may disagree — assuming you have read it. But wherever you get your inspiration, park well. It matters to far more than just you.

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