I found myself writing in a quaint little Italian coffee and panini shop this morning, Nutella latte to my right and laptop to my left. I usually sit on my outside bench at Flora Grubb, succulents potted beside and hanging above, green and brown and gray everywhere; but instead of turning off at Cesar Chavez this morning, I took the next exit onto Mariposa and drove until the most perfect of parking spots screamed my name and beckoned me in.
And really, I think that’s how it is: we land right where we’re supposed to land.
See, I’ve been in the car with friends who claim Parking Juju, who wear the coveted crown of always, always being able to find that vied-for spot: “I’m pretty sure it’s my spiritual gift,” a friend told me once, utterly and hopelessly and religiously honest. I’ve driven with other friends who peer curiously 365 degrees around them, while simultaneously glancing upward, merciful prayers hailed speedily heavenward. They’re convinced – surely! – that the Lord Most High will hear the petitions of his faithful ones and grant them the desires of their auto-driving hearts. And maybe this really does happen, and maybe you have countless stories of Juju & Jesus, but I’ll be honest, I do not.
These stories are not mine.
I kind of just think you park where there’s a spot open, and sometimes you get lucky, but sometimes you have to circle the block eight times and subsequently fit into a space made for a Hot Wheels-sized vehicle.
And perhaps that’s how life is as well.
I’ve started coming to grips with the paralyzing fear that has at times overwhelmed my life, as I wrote about for my friend Micha a couple weeks’ ago. Without knowing it, for a long while I operated under the guise that if I did something wrong, if I strayed from the narrow, road-less-traveled path, that if I stepped out of bounds of the should’s – of what I should do and should say – that an angry, wrathful bolt of lightening would spring forth from the skies. And I’d then somehow be kicked out: outside of His will and His love and His way.
Because I feared, I played it safe.
So I kept teaching, even if it wasn’t the best fit. I kept chasing after negative friendships, ignoring the red flags of unhealthiness and death to my own self. I kept living in dry and desert islands of places, soul stagnant and thirsty and tired.
I stayed teaching and chasing and living because I feared the unknown on the other side. I feared not landing in the most perfect and optimal of parking places.
Because, I suppose, this is the new Reality that I’m living and entering and leaning into: Beauty is everywhere. And if Beauty, which for me is Christ himself, has made itself manifest in the most unlikely of places, including my own cynical, decrepit heart, then surely He’ll find his way into the ugliest of cracks and the deepest of weeds and the crackliest bits of broken glass that exist. Because this is His beauty and His story and His great act of redemption and transformation that is being written.
And if I truly believe that’s the case, then I’m then simply to jump in and trust and enjoy the ride; I’m to dance the dance and eat the meal and partake of the feast. I’m not to fear that I’ve landed in the wrong place, because He is here with me, always and forever, then and now, today and tomorrow and tomorrow’s tomorrow.
So I park where I park, and I land where I land, and I lean into knowing and believing and trusting that I’m right where I’m supposed to be, lucky parking space or not.
But I’ll still take a little Parking Juju & Jesus every once in awhile.
What about you? Do you believe that you’re right where you’re supposed to be? And more importantly, do you have Parking Juju?0