I parked on the neighbor’s grass.
I was bringing lunch to my daughter and son-in-law, and I wanted to park close to their house. Their car was in the one-car driveway off an alley—the alley that needed to have room left for cars to go through. Their baby was not yet a month old. They had ordered lunch, and I had picked it up. Pretty simple.
But how could I park close enough to bring them lunch? I will park here at the neighbor’s house, I thought. It is a new house and no one is living there. The owner is planning to use it as an Airbnb. There have been a few contractors there who have parked on the grass. There is even a strip of grass in front of the carport which, obviously to me, would have to be driven over to park in the carport at some point. So I parked on the next-door neighbor’s small strip of grass in front of the new and empty house to deliver lunch.
My son-in-law came in from throwing a ball with the dog and said, “We need to move the car. It’s parked on Charlie’s grass.”
My daughter was astonished: “Mom, you parked on the grass!?”
“Yeah, I did. I’ve seen trucks parked there, so I thought it would be okay.”
My son-in-law: “Charlie has been working very hard to get that grass established.”
Me: “Oh dear, I will move it right now.”
Then I left to complete other errands, driving off the grass, praying I didn’t do any damage, and also hoping big time that Charlie wouldn’t notice. Praying my rudeness wouldn’t be noticed or felt by another.
I drove around town, distracted yet feeling my failure.
I paid attention to the feeling. A tightening in my chest; a weight; a tingling nagging somewhere behind my head and neck. I kept rationalizing. There had been other vehicles parked there. I was just stopping for a minute. No one lives there yet. He planted the grass right in front of the carport; what did he expect? On and on.
Then I went for a walk, stopping to smell roses growing along the sidewalk. They didn’t smell as luscious as they looked. The evening air was pleasant. It was a great time to invite Jesus to speak and lead me in any direction He would lead. There was more rationalizing. After 45 minutes I was finally able to say, I parked on the neighbor’s grass for my own convenience. I did it out of my own selfishness.
Yes, that is more truth, and what really happened. It took me a couple of hours and climbing over a massive mountain of my own justification to get there, yet just in time, the truth came clear and bright. And I didn’t do it on my own. I am not that smart or strong. It only happened once I relaxed, opened up, asked for and allowed space for the Spirit to nudge and reveal.
As I walked back to my daughter’s, I was ready to unburden my guilt through truth. Saying it. I told them both, “I am so sorry I parked on the neighbor’s grass. I did it for my own convenience and out of my own selfishness.”
Boom. Judgment left the room. The mountain between us was diminished. The enemy’s voice had been killed off, silenced. There was discussion without judgment or condemnation because it had already been named, confessed, and truth spoken.
This is what honest confession can do, what can happen when the Spirit speaks truth to my hard heart.
For all of this I am very grateful.
When not bike touring or dreaming about bike touring, Sandra West can be found skiing in the Cascades or enjoying her three grown children scattered from Alaska to Texas. Her careers have varied from gas station attendant in the early 1970’s, to commercial fishing in Puget Sound, to C-130 cargo aircraft flight engineer with the Coast Guard, to homeschool mom, and now, practicing story work with the Allender Center.