Love in the Parking Lot
July 30, 2011
by Maria Fontaine
Love in the Parking Lot
Audio length: 22:01
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You know, parking lots at midnight can be very romantic. I bet a lot of you know that from experience. But in this instance I’m not talking about what we used to do when we were teens in our cars in the parking lot. I’m talking about the romance I experienced with Jesus during Peter’s and my vacation time some months back.
I needed to get some daily exercise and I only had two options: either to go to the cold, air-conditioned gym or to walk in the warm outdoors. Since I get cold so easily, I chose the option of walking outside in the heat. However, I found that even for me there’s a limit to the heat I can take. So because it was a very hot time of year where we were staying, I chose to wait until close to midnight to do my walking, because it was a bit cooler then.
I would go for my exercise at a time when everything was quiet and almost everyone was in bed. The only place safe enough to walk alone at that time was the parking lot, which was well-lit and had a security guard, and bordered the place we were staying on all four sides, amounting to a nice road around the property edged with parking spaces. It took me five minutes to walk the full circle of the parking lot, and I’d repeat the rounds to make for an extended walk. During my walks, I had some special times with Jesus and experienced some reminders of His love.
The kind night watchman assured me that I’d be safe walking in the parking lot. He was like a visible reminder of the ever-present guardian angels who no doubt stood in the soft shadows as I passed, but always close and comforting. I could relax and enjoy my exercise, coupled with my time with Jesus, knowing there was both the watchman and the guardian angels on duty.
So, back to my original thought: What was romantic about this parking lot? It was my personal time walking and talking with the One who knows my heart better than I know it myself. Everything was quiet, there were no distractions, and for most of the time there was nothing to capture my attention except the moon, which only enhanced the experience.
Well, sometimes there was a little rabbit, which would pause in the grass as I walked by. He didn’t seem afraid; just a little curious perhaps. He stayed up just as late as I did. I’d seen him early in the morning too. I wondered if he ever slept. I have to sleep so much and still feel tired. However, the Lord encouraged me that it’s not my energy that counts as much as my motivation; my desire for my time with Jesus overrules my desire for sleep, even when I feel like I don’t get enough. You know how it is when you’re so in love you just forget how tired you are in your longing to be with the one you love?
I have to admit, cars aren’t my favorite things to look at. They remind me of noise and speed and danger. On the other hand, the cars gave me something to praise Jesus for as we walked along—that He has allowed us to have that convenience and even necessity, without which our lives would be so much more difficult.
The sight of the cars was offset by the natural beauty of the trees growing beside the wall that bordered the property. The security lights of the parking lot shone on the leaves, giving them a feathery or lacy appearance and a soft, golden hue. The effect of the lights shining through the trees was ethereal, almost magical. Contrast between the darkness and the heavenly golden light caused a special effect that could only be appreciated at night.
In the daytime, things can look so harsh and stark and pragmatic and utilitarian, but with the soft darkness of night blending with the soft lights, everything changes. You don’t see the blemishes or the flaws anymore. The Lord’s love is a lot like that.
The darkness and the gentle glow seem to highlight and enhance the beauty that is already there. It’s not that the flaws have vanished; they’re still there and will show up again in the sunshine, but the welcome darkness covers them up just long enough to help us to appreciate those points of beauty that we might not notice in the daytime. It’s an illustration to me of the way that Jesus sees the beauty in us and chooses to overlook our imperfections.
One night I heard a songbird—just once; I never heard him again. It was such a beautiful concert he performed with different songs—a special gift that my always thoughtful and caring Lord wanted me to enjoy.
There was a picturesque little waterfall that stayed on until late in the night. Even if there was no one else to enjoy it, I did.
Then there was the gentle twinkle of hundreds of tiny lights, like miniature white stars that had tumbled out of the sky, adorning the trees at the front of the property. Those are always a favorite for me. They make me think of how the lights of heaven might be.
When I’d walk around this parking lot at night, I’d have my MP3 player with me with all kinds of interesting things to listen to, yet I rarely turned it on, because this was my Jesus time and I felt His love call.
We talked about a lot of things. He reminded me that even parking lots can be beautiful when He’s there. He assured me that whatever circumstances we find ourselves in, we can make something wonderful from them.