I whisked through the airport lobby toward my car. I had parked my Hyundai at the curbside because my mother clearly needed help pulling her luggage to check-in. My impulsive good deed framed me a criminal.
When the airport door slid open, I froze. A monstrous, heavy metal chain hooked to my car’s front bumper slowly tugged my car onto the tow truck’s ramp.
Another accelerated “vroom” sent me running toward the woman police officer.
“This is my car! What are you doing?” I panted; my face red with embarrassment.
She stood stoically silent. Then the white-bearded tow truck driver confronted me.
“You’re illegally parked. We’re towing your car away.” For him, it was a done deal.
I turned to the police woman, pleading and mildly demanding. “You can’t tow my car away. I’m here!”
The police woman exaggerated how she had driven by my illegally parked car at least 10 times! She kept pressing the no-parking rule, criticizing me. Violations of this nature should never happen!
I was whip lashed with criticism.
Then to my amazement, she turned to the driver and ordered him to let my car go! She stunned me. One moment I’m a criminal, the next, I’m set free!
“Take your ticket” the tow truck driver commanded. He pointed to my car’s windshield.
“How much is it?”
“$38.50. You’d pay more if I had towed it,” he growled.
My heart, still brimming with fresh, mushy love for my mother, appealed to the police woman. “If you were me, wouldn't you help your 76-year-old mother with her luggage? She needed my help!” I begged, “Can’t you just tear up the ticket?”
Our mother/daughter visit had raised a sweet celebration of two lives reconnecting. It was our annual reunion sacred of sharing, laughing, reminiscing and eating my mom’s superb cooking! Our loving kinship was all too soon torn apart by tear-filled good-byes.
The police officer didn't understand my loss. Ignorance breeds insensitivity. Insensitivity creates blind-spots.
Her words sealed the deal. “No. The ticket is signed. You have to pay.”
The giant hook lowered and unleashed my car. I drove off. For several miles my mind wandered from the road. I legally deserved my car towed. So I felt some relief and thankfulness to be driving it home. Still, an awareness of failure and inadequacy remained.
Being criticized makes me feel lousy!
As usual, I turned to the One who owns my heart and understands. “Lord, I was wrong. I parked illegally. I’m feeling humiliated. Please heal me. And help me forgive the airport people. Bless them today.”
Lavish love wrapped its arms around me. Love with great grace. It’s the way of God.
I journaled that morning, “Love is patient” (1 Corinthians 13:4).
“The Lord does not always accuse. Compassionate and gracious, the Lord does not repay us as our misdeeds deserve.” (Psalm 103:8-10)
Look away from yourself to see the Lord’s love. It’s like a never-ending stream of grace and mercy. Walk into it. Let Him wash you. The Lord loves imperfect people.