by Sr. Sheila Campbell MMM Ireland 27.05.2023
Did you ever notice how good we are at giving advice and very poor at accepting it? I went through this experience recently and it taught me a lesson.
I was driving into a town I did not know very well, looking for parking. I saw a supermarket with a large “Free Parking” sign. Delighted, I turned off the road and into the carpark. However, on leaving the car I saw a smaller sign “ Free with a minimum £10 purchase”. “Oh, well”, I thought to myself,” I will just pay the parking”. So, I went off to do my business in the town and came back to the car park.
I went to the pay machine to process the ticket and pay my dues. The ticket would not be inserted into the slot. Frantically, I looked around for a different slot. No, I had chosen the correct slot. After standing in front of the machine for several minutes, I decided it was time to ask for help. A young woman was passing with toddler at her side. “Could you help me”, I asked. “My ticket won’t go into the machine”. She smiled and said, “Oh, it is free, you don’t need to pay.” But I insisted. “No, you do not understand. I didn’t buy anything in the supermarket, so I have to pay the parking.” And I turned around again and began stabbing my ticket into its unresponsive slot.
She came right over to me and touched me on my arm. No doubt she thought she was dealing with a doddering old person. Well, maybe I am heading in that direction! “Just look over there. The exit barrier is raised, and the parking is free,” she said. And, of course, she was right.
I returned to my car and drove off thinking to myself. God’s love is freely available, and we insisted that in some way we need to pay for it, we need to earn it. Even though God tells us, over and over again, we don’t listen, pay attention or take wise advice. God’s love for us is free. Just accept it and be rejoice, as I did for the free parking that day!