When I was growing up, my dad would take me and my sister to Sunday school each week before church. He taught the middle-schoolers so he had to be there anyway.
One Sunday I noticed something strange. Even though we were usually the first car to arrive at church—we always left early enough to pick-up donuts—my dad always chose to park in the worst spot. He would head straight to the back row and far corner of the lot.
Week after week, I watched this happen. I thought maybe he was worried about his car getting scratched or hit. As a car dealer he usually happened to be driving something nice and new. I guess it made sense but I still thought we could take our chances and park a little closer. After all, wasn’t prime parking one of the few perks of being the first to church?
Years later (with hopes of good parking spots long gone), I remember asking my dad about his strange habit. I can’t recall his exact words but it was something to the effect of, “I like to save the good spots for the people who need them.”
He wasn’t worried one bit about his car. Instead, he was thinking about people in the church who used walkers, or had really young kids, or just happened to be running late.
My dad’s simple, selfless, and terrible taste in parking spots has stuck with me to this day.
And as I think about the quiet way my dad chose to put himself second, I am humbled by the potential that even the smallest acts of kindness have to impact our communities, churches and families.
And I try to remember that sometimes the very best spots are in the back row, far corner of the lot.
I'd love to hear your stories! Has someone in your life (maybe a friend, parent, or member of your church) displayed a creative or ongoing act of kindness that left an impact on you? How could the mindset of saving 'the best parking spot' for someone else change our churches and communities?