Monday, January 25, 2010

Universal Reminders

Several years ago, my mom, uncle and I took a 2 week tour of Texas, to visit relatives and go to all of the small towns where my grandfather was a minister about 70 years ago. We visited several of the churches where he served as the minister, but most of those visits occurred during the week. In one small West Texas town, we decided to attend the Sunday service. This was a very special church for us, as the same building where my grandpa preached stands to this day.

Here is a picture of me standing at the pulpit!

We arrived for the service a little on the early side. I had called the current minister a day in advance, told him who we were, and that we would be attending the service. We met with him early to make swap a few stories. Then, we took a seat in the small church. We were 2 or 3 pews back. The church was pretty empty. I'd say there weren't more than 20 people total in attendance.

At the conclusion of the service we stuck around to chat with some of the congregants. One man even remembered my grandfather!

One man, who was obviously a wealthy rancher and a big wig in the community spoke to my uncle, and let him know in no uncertain terms that we had 'taken' someone else's pew that morning. The man seemed very displeased with where we had chosen to sit.

I was flabbergasted! Here we were, returning to a place my grandfather had served many years ago, and someone was bent out of shape because we sat in the wrong pew? What kind of sense does that make?? It seemed so petty... and downright silly. Could it really be such a big deal to have to sit a few seats over ONE Sunday in your life? Geez.

Fast forward to this past weekend.

On Saturday, I went to one of my favorite restaurants for lunch. I have a little routine that I like to go through each time I go there. I'm comforted by repetition and routine. I have 'my parking spot' that is right in front of the restaurant. It's very close to the front door of the restaurant, but that's not why I like it. It is the only spot that guarantees no door dings!

Once inside the restaurant, I have my favorite table. Everyone who works there knows its 'my' table. They will even hold it open for me at lunch time during the week, for several minutes after opening, just in case I should come in! Very sweet!

I usually try to be there right at opening time - so that I can get 'my' parking spot and 'my' table.

Saturday, I arrived 4 minutes after the opening time. Just as I came into the parking lot, I noticed a big vehicle parking in MY spot! They arrived almost at the exact same moment that I had. I felt annoyed and a little victimized! I was only 4 minutes late! Why was MY SPOT taken already!

I found myself feeling a bit resentful of these people, whoever they were.

As I walked into the restaurant, I saw a woman get out of the car. I'm really hoping I didn't give her a cross look... like "HOW DARE YOU!"

I got seated at "my" table, and I glanced out the window. "My parking spot" is just outside the window. I watched the woman I'd seen, open the passenger door and help a very elderly woman out of the vehicle. The woman had a lot of trouble moving.

Instantly I felt very very silly, and more than a little embarrassed at my inner (and outer) behavior.

These people NEEDED that parking spot. As I said, it was close to the front door.

I actually felt a little ashamed of myself, if the truth be told.

I was feeling towards these people, EXACTLY the same as the wealthy rancher was feeling about my family and I taking someone else's pew at church!

It isn't "my parking spot" anymore than that pew belonged to any particular person or group of people.

We aren't 'entitled' to reserved seating in this life. Often times someone else needs the spot worse than we do! When we don't get what we want, and someone else does, we should be happy for them, and not feel sorry for ourselves.

We need to learn to share! I include myself in that statement!!