Love in the parking lot

Did you know that parking lots at midnight can be very romantic? I’m talking about the romance I experienced with Jesus while walking in a parking lot.

I needed to get some daily exercise and I only had two options: either go to the air-conditioned gym or walk in the warm outdoors. Since I get cold easily, I chose walking outside in the heat. However, I found that even for me, there’s a limit to the heat I can take. So since it was a very hot time of year, I had to wait until it was cooler outdoors—which turned out to be close to midnight.

I would go for my exercise when everything was quiet and almost everyone was in bed. As it was late and I was unfamiliar with the area, I stayed in the parking lot, which was well-lit and had a security guard. It took me five minutes to walk the full circle of the parking lot, and I’d repeat the rounds to make for an extended walk.

The kind night watchman assured me that I’d be safe walking in the parking lot. He was like a visible reminder of God’s presence, always close and comforting. I could relax and enjoy my exercise, knowing both the watchman and God and His angels were on duty.

Back to my original thought: What was romantic about this parking lot? It was my personal time walking and talking with Jesus, the One who knows my heart better than I know it myself. Everything was quiet, there were no distractions, and most of the time, there was nothing to capture my attention except the moon, which only enhanced the experience.

Well, sometimes there was a little rabbit, which would pause in the grass as I walked by. He didn’t seem afraid—just a little curious. He stayed up just as late as I did.

I have to admit, cars aren’t my favorite things to look at. On the other hand, the cars gave me something to praise Jesus for as we walked along—all the conveniences and solutions without which modern life couldn’t exist.

The unattractive cars were offset by the natural beauty of the trees growing alongside the wall that bordered the property. The parking lot’s security lights shone on the leaves, giving them a feathery or lacy appearance and a soft, golden hue. The effect of the lights shining through the trees was ethereal, almost magical. The contrast between the darkness and the golden light caused a special effect that could only be appreciated at night.

In the daytime, things can look so harsh and stark and pragmatic and utilitarian, but when the mellow darkness of night blends with soft lights, everything changes. The combination seems to highlight and enhance the beauty that is already there. It’s not that the flaws have vanished; they’re still there and will show up again in the sunshine, but the welcome darkness covers them up just long enough to help us appreciate those points of beauty that we might not notice in the daytime. God’s love is a lot like that. It was an illustration to me of the way that Jesus sees the beauty in us and chooses to overlook our imperfections.

One night I heard a songbird, just once. I never heard it again. It was such a beautiful concert it performed with different songs—a special gift that my always thoughtful and caring Lord wanted me to enjoy.

When I’d walk around this parking lot at night, I’d have my MP3 player with me with all kinds of interesting things to listen to, yet I rarely turned it on, because this was my “Jesus time” and I felt His love call.

He and I talked about a lot of things. He reminded me that beauty can be found even in parking lots when He’s there. He assured me that whatever circumstances we find ourselves in, together we can make something wonderful from them.