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.