Several years ago, a friend of mine was on a business trip in Kansas City, where he treated a client to a Royals baseball game. They left the stands before the final inning, but not remembering their rental car’s color, couldn’t find it in the parking lot. Only when the game ended and the parking lot cleared were they able to find that car by a frustrating process of elimination.
That story came to mind for me recently when I couldn’t find my own quite recognizable car in the huge Hennepin County Medical Center parking ramp in downtown Minneapolis.
When I entered and took my ticket from the machine, the ramp was packed with cars. Round and round I went, higher and higher, not finding an available space. Then circling down a level or two, I reluctantly took a space, not near the elevator, but instead next to the stairway. In a hurry and being older and slower than the two young guys I heard running down the stairs behind me, I never even thought to look for a place to stamp the parking level on my ticket. Come to think of it, I’m not even sure there was any stamper available.
After my patient visit in the hospital, I headed across the street to the ramp, electing to use the elevator to reach the upper levels. After all, I’m wise enough to know going up the stairway demands more exertion, especially for old guys like me. But reaching my finger to push the button, I hesitated to realize I was unsure on which upper level I had left my car.
I got my daily walk in that afternoon! Up and down the rows and rows of cars I walked! Down and up the stairs I climbed! On the level and on the incline, I began humming, “We are ‘Climbing the Stairway to Heaven!'”
I remembered the Old Testament stories of The Tower of Babel (Genesis 11) and Jacob’s Ladder (Genesis 28), each reaching to the high heavens! I remembered the rock song at my friend’s memorial service, “Knock, Knock, Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door!”
Finally, I spotted my car’s rear bumper sticking out far down the row of parked cars. Settling into the driver’s seat, I reflected on having felt lost on a stairway there in the high heavens above downtown.
There’s a metaphor for me in my experience that day downtown. My life journey has included multiple moments of feeling lost along the way. Each has taught me important lessons. That day I learned I need to slow down, take note of my surroundings, and be patient!
Also, it helps to recall a contextual Biblical story or two and to hum or sing an old song whenever I’m just a little fearful!
Editor’s note: EPLN contributor Pastor Rod Anderson serves on the EPLN Board of Directors. Anderson is the former senior pastor of St. Andrew Lutheran Church in Eden Prairie. If you would like to contribute a faith-based column to EPLN, email email@example.com.
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