The greatest psychological obstacle to a trip to Center City Philadelphia is the parking. It’s enough to make all but the hardy or the wealthy stay home.
So when my husband and I decided to worship at a Philadelphia church last Sunday, I mentioned to him, more than once and with increasing stress, that we needed to leave bright and early for any chance of a spot. My husband then calmly asked the Lord for a parking place, in his “prayer of faith” tone of voice (James 5:15).
The inertia of personality being what it is, we left late. We arrived in the city just minutes before the service was to begin, and I was in full-tilt I-told-you-so mode. My husband responded by reiterating his prayer with characteristic calm.
We pulled up to the church and he spotted a gap between two cars and said I should pull in. I replied that if I were to do that, we would get ticketed or “booted” because it was not a legal parking spot. How did I know it was not a legal parking spot? Because if it were legal, somebody would be there already, thus was my logic.
But I pulled in, executing my famously awesome parallel parking ability (see a recent column), and got out of the car to search for the big sign or little sign or handicapped notice or fire hydrant that would prove to my husband that we could not stay there. I found no such prohibition, though I was sure there must be one. As we went into the church building, I was still convinced we had missed some posted warning and would find a scary white slip under our windshield wiper after church. But upon leaving the car was still there and there was no ticket.
Not only that. As we milled about behind the church afterward, we happened to meet a man who must be the sexton of the facility. For when he heard we would like to walk around town before returning home, he gave us a pass to park at a hidden away little parking lot down a narrow alley that was reserved for teachers of their Christian school during the week. So we got to be in Old City Philadelphia for the day without spending a dime on parking.
You may not think this worthy of a column, but in my opinion, two free and easy parking spots in the city of Philadelphia in a day is nearly a miraculous occurrence.