It's summertime, when sitting here again at the community watering hole makes the rest of the year feel like what we do between pool seasons.
The only challenge is parking. There are about 20 diagonal slots along the swimming pool's side of the street and adjoining park. On the opposite side there is a stretch of row houses, but I couldn't find a spot there, so I proceeded to the library parking lot, which is always a sure bet.
Once inside the pool area I saw a woman I know vaguely from church playing with her toddler in the shallow infant pool, and we struck up a conversation. I remarked on the parking situation. It turns out that she lives directly across the road, in one of the aforementioned row houses where I was scouting a place to park.
Kara told me she enjoys her home, but that it is challenging to live there in the summer months when the pool is open. She often cannot park in front of her house (or any of the row houses), and the township does not permit homeowners to place orange cones to reserve their spots. This is especially difficult when Kara is returning from shopping for food and has to lug groceries and son from the library lot to the front door. (Kara appears to be 90 pounds soaking wet.).
I resolved after that chance encounter that in future pool outings I would never again even look for a parking place along the row house side of the street. But why did it take a meeting with Kara to decide that? Surely, even before our conversation I knew there were human beings living in those houses. And if I had paused to think about it, surely I would have surmised their summer-long inconvenience and frustration. If I had been super-imaginative, I would even have conjured the scenario of a young mother trudging along the pavement from the library with a baby in one arm and two shopping bags in the other.
"So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them …" (Matthew 7:12).
It is obvious that obedience to that command of Jesus requires at least two minutes of putting yourself in your neighbor's shoes.
It makes me wonder whom else I do not love well throughout the day.