Sometimes you just have to risk it! That’s what happened the other day when I got a craving for a Four Cheese Soufflé and a Black Cherry Low Cal Smoothie from Panera Bread. I could walk the 15 yards or so from the parking lot, if there happened to be a space, or I could park on the side of the building where your car is mere inches from the entrance to the shopping center, but at risk for being demolished by cars entering shopping center. In third world countries, it would be deemed a thoroughfare, but in my hometown, it’s just called a parking lot.
Yes, this forty-something mom took the dare! She parked on the dangerous side. After all, my car already has a few dings, what’s the harm if my car gets one more?
Not only did I park, I completely geekified myself by stopping long enough to take a picture of what was surely a divine sign of prophetic wisdom:
PARK AT YOUR OWN RISK
Businessmen late for their Skype conference calls passed me by. So did moms with toddlers, kids, and baby-on-board bellies. Go ahead; get your latte and your bear claw. I’m going to take a moment and pontificate this profound wisdom.
There are a few universal truths I have come to understand lately. They are:
- There are no coincidences
- You make your own luck
- You are not in control
- Park at your own risk
Wait, don’t two of these contradict? How can you be out of control and make your own luck? What does that have to do with parking and risking? I’ll tell you. You make your own luck every time you wake up and say to yourself I’m going to keep going. I’m going to try and do the hard thing I’m not sure I can do. It could be a more challenging job, a new fitness routine, or a habit or addiction you decide today is the day you break it. It could be the broken relationship you decide today is the day you to pick up the phone and try and repair it.
There is no guarantee of outcome, only possibility. There are factors beyond our control. We wake up, make our beds, step into reality and make our choices. But much of what happens is circumstances. At that point, our control resides only in our perspective. How do we see what is happening? Each circumstance can be seen as a tool for good. For me, faith in God (a higher power) gives me continuous opportunity to trust in something bigger than me and a continuous learning opportunity to accept all that I can’t control.
This brings me to my final point. Whatever happens in life, by all means, keep going. Rejected? Move on! Or else, park at your own risk. Got fired? Fire up your resume and try again, or else park at your own risk. Got fat? (Fingers are pointing accusingly at self-belly here!) Fix it. Work out more, eat less, go to bed on time and get enough rest.
The thing is, in most of circumstances, we already know what we need to do. We just have to step over the “fear hurdle”. Sometimes we’ll pause and not decide. We’ll try and wait out the hard thing that is unavoidable anyway. We’ll avoid the person we most need to confront.
Stop taking the easy way out. Commit to doing one thing today that you’ve been procrastinating about or avoiding. Doing this on a daily basis is good practice. Then you’ll be prepared when the really hard moments come. By learning to face the moments and people that we’d prefer to avoid, you’ll toughen your mettle until one day you’ll have a fairly firm understanding that other people and circumstances were never what or who defined you anyway. You do!
There are no coincidences. Each moment really can be a divine appointment if we choose to see it as so. The people we encounter and the challenges we face, may indeed be part of a “bigger picture” then we can see right now. The key is to keep going, not quit, and find meaning in each moment so you can enjoy the journey.
It’s fine to park yourself now and then—everyone needs rest and relaxation. The key is to not get a sign with your name on it. Take risks in life, but don’t take the one that comes by staying in PARK. Now go!