The Parking Lot – Part III

You might be wondering why I would publish something like The Parking Lot?  Why would I even write it?  I guess I wrote and published it because my observations there, in that literal parking lot, made a profound impact on me.  It caused and continues to cause me to wonder if we’re not too comfortable in our lives sometimes with our taken-for-granted reality that doesn’t begin to resemble what is ‘real life’ for some or many other people.  We may see violent movies on TV or read of violent acts in the papers or in work-related documents, but we aren’t really exposed to those other lives with our core senses.

 

Aside from growing-up in a military household that was governed by someone from the old ‘brown-shoe’ days of the service and living under his heavy hand and all that it entailed, I had never been exposed to the type of life or violence that I encountered in The Parking Lot.  I had been relatively ‘sheltered’ in that military family and in a church life that prevented me from seeing anything resembling this, which is probably, or might be good.  When I was leaving the Air Force and interviewed for the position with the health department, the person leading the interview session asked me how I felt about having to work with street people, prostitutes, drug abusers, and jail inmates.  I responded that I would be fine with it, that I welcomed it and wanted to experience this side of humanity that I had never been exposed to.  My interview was successful and I left the comfort of the Air Force and the things that I had known for my entire life of 27 years, and stepped into a place where I worked for 10 years, witnessing and absorbing the spectacles of sadness and other events that I would never have encountered under the sheltering umbrella of my earlier life.

 

I wrote The Parking Lot to present that other view of life, to provide another mark on our rulers that measure what is good and bad, true and false about our perceptions of our realities.  I’ve said before that life is bigger than any rule or policy that we might be compelled to follow.  Life is also bigger than the little spot that we, you and I collectively or singularly occupy.  Life isn’t really a Nicholas Sparks novel, however sad some of them might be.  Sometimes life truly sucks.  We sit and complain about our difficulties with paying the bills, refinancing the mortgage, kids, spouses, mates, etc, and think that our lives can be and are hard…and no doubt, they probably are, within the context of the physical and emotional comfort of our lives.

We are also at ease or comfortable with what we perceive to be our eternities as we drive around with our Christian fishes or ‘CCV’ stickers on the back of our vehicles and accept that our views are the correct views, that our God is the right, holy, infallible, etc, while other people look around and can’t see even a speck of their existence that is owed to God, and if they can or do equate their life status to God’s blessing, they think He is either really pissed at them or that they must not be worthy of His notice or attention.

 

The things I wrote in the earlier two pieces were true in their content.  I shared actual lived moments with those people and felt their alone-ness, hopelessness, and isolation from whatever might be good in life, their separation from the ‘good’ that I learned as a child came from God.  If these people’s station in life was because they were receiving punishment from God to draw them to or back to Him, then that is just sick.  The woman’s questions stir me to the depths of what we might call my ‘soul,’ the core of my being…how could an omniscient and omnipotent God possibly exist and do absolutely nothing when a little girl is being so abused by her father, or any other person?  How can He exist?  We should not delude ourselves in believing, let alone thinking that God’s ways can be so mysterious as to defy the principal characteristics that He is purported to possess, those of love and compassion.

The psychological literature of the past several decades documents how people’s (women and girls especially) lives are damaged so horribly by the events described earlier.  There can be no higher purpose…these things cannot be God’s will.  Please!  Look me in the eye after reading the medical records and social worker and psychologists’ reports about the physical and emotional damage inflicted during these soul-killing abuses and tell me, rather, tell the little girls and women that God allowed it to happen.  I realize that this is probably one of the simplest arguments against the existence of God, but it works.

 

So, those are my thoughts and opinions as they have been informed and developed by some of the things that I have seen and experienced in my life.  Your thoughts and opinions might be different.

I’m not sure if the parking lot of the Navajo Hotel still actually exists as it did back then, but it remains so in my memory.

 

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10 responses

  1. me

    YOUR WRITING IS UNBELIEVABLE. you musn’t bury your talent in the sand . . . just ask god.

    September 10, 2009 at 1:00 pm

    • seekraz

      Thank you very much! And the ‘good book’ does mention something about hiding talents in the sand, doesn’t it?

      September 10, 2009 at 1:15 pm

  2. Nathan

    This is a side of life that probably doesn’t exist to most of us. A life that for all intents and purposes probably wouldn’t be worth living under these circumstances. I have personally never witnessed anything like what you’ve described, or at least not directly. This world we live in is remarkably beautiful, and it’s full of things we cherish. When looked at through that lens, it’s easy to see why one might attribute all of that to God’s glory. But when looking through the eyes of this battered and abused woman, t’s also easy to see why one would have to create the book of Job to attribute all of the worlds filth and shit we have to crawl through to make it through this life that was apparently given to us as a gift from God. I suppose the only difference here is that this poor woman has no happy ending……

    September 10, 2009 at 1:52 pm

    • seekraz

      You’re right, Nate, it’s easy to accept the splendor of nature as belonging or coming from a creator god, but it would be much harder to accept this same god if you’re on a parallel plane with Job. The Bible’s parables or testimonies might be instructional stories if we left it at that, but the problem comes when they’re accepted as unquestionable and sacred and continue to oppress the vulnerable, the ones who were indoctrinated when young and haven’t broken out of their mold yet and likely never will. And you’re correct, too, in that this woman’s life, to my limited knowledge, had no happy ending. And so it is. When are you going to start writing? 🙂

      September 10, 2009 at 3:35 pm

  3. Nathan

    I think I’ll stick to commenting on what you have to write for the time being. I’ve got a lot to learn still, and prefer the wisdom of life experience which is the greatest teacher of all.

    September 10, 2009 at 3:44 pm

    • seekraz

      Very good. I’ll keep checking-in with you to see how your lessons are going.

      September 10, 2009 at 3:49 pm

  4. Dustin

    Now I can appropriately say, “like a fly on the wall”, or at least like a fly using the internet. Reading your blogs is interesting for me because I have never once heard you talk about these subjects when I’m over there at the house with Mr. Nathan eating your food and stuff….I Like the material you choose to write about, very personal, and I can say I am envious of your writing skills!

    September 12, 2009 at 12:41 pm

    • seekraz

      Thank you, Dustin. You must have missed our sometimes heated discussions about religion or undocumented immigration somehow! I’ll look forward to seeing your comments with future articles, now that you’ve visited here! Thanks again.

      September 12, 2009 at 12:46 pm

  5. Pretty amazing stuff here. Religious platitudes certainly don’t begin to have the answers for me. I’m not even sure that the human mind is yet capable of grasping why some folk have a pair of Cadillacs while others live at the Navajo Hotel (or worse). I can even think of far worse circumstances: war, famine… though that’s all pretty subjective.

    You have me rethinking the quip about the karma kops because I can’t imagine anyone deserving the sort of abuse the woman describes, or all the other horrific things we try to ignore. Not that I haven’t encountered or skirted around similar squalid situations. I just hadn’t put the two equations together. The karma and the ‘innocent’ victims. Could be a certain bit of comfort might be drawn if you believed in reincarnation. Might even encourage one to lead a better life. It’s too easy to ignore these sort of circumstances in our comfortable lives. Far too difficult to think them through.

    You amaze me the way you describe all of this and insist we think about the unfathomable.

    April 9, 2012 at 11:46 pm

    • No, Gunta…and I think religions platitudes would be rather insulting…especially to those who lived at the Navajo Hotel. Part of the disconnect, too, is that there is no “why.” Life isn’t fair; it isn’t going to be fair; and there is no true reason for such disparity…even when viewed with the light from holy texts.

      I’m glad the essay was thought-provoking…it still has me considering things, too. Makes me wonder, again and again, how people can say “there but by the grace of God go I.” Kind of in-step with the Karma thing, it seems. I cannot imagine that kind of “order” in the world…that we get what we deserve, that we’ll get our reward someday, and that things will be made right in the end. I don’t know how it can be, really. If it were possible to come back in a higher or more blessed form as payment or retribution for what we had gone through in this or a previous lifetime, it would seem equally possible that there really is a god looking down on us who has the power to change things, but is sitting motionless and doing nothing.

      Thank you for visiting, Gunta, and for your contributing comments. And yes, I believe we should think about the unfathomable sometimes….

      April 10, 2012 at 7:04 am

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