Slices Of Life In The School Parking Lot


My daily routine now includes picking the kids up from school every afternoon.

I arrive early, put the windows down, then enjoy some reading time in the relative quiet until the bell rings and a flood of school kids stream from the building in a rush of sheer exuberance.

I am a big people-watcher and it’s always fascinating to see the various vignettes that play out on any given afternoon.

Here are some of the things I witnessed today:

*”Hi Mrs. Brown!”
The chipper voice and friendly wave belonged to a beautiful young girl who attends our church. Her radiant smile and upbeat attitude are constant, despite the fact that she is dealing with a debilitating disease that often leaves her in a wheelchair, as it did just last week. This day, she stood tall and proud, wearing her trademark bright pink. She was surrounded by her friends and when her mom arrived in the parking lot, she hugged her without a trace of self-consciousness.

I am privileged to know this family. They face a heartbreaking situation, yet continue to move forward in faith, trusting their Savior who they know loves them with a fierce, protective, and perfect love.

*I watched another member of our church leave the school. A group of students standing near the entrance all called out to him enthusiastically. He is a beloved math teacher and is also dealing with a serious illness. Tears formed in my eyes as I watched him smile and wave to the kids before heading across the parking lot to his car. It was obvious from his slow and measured gait that he was in pain. I prayed for his healing.

He and his wife are two of the dearest people I know. Each of them posses such a warm and loving spirit. In spite of all they deal with, they are always the first to ask, “How are you doing?” They live their lives with quiet but unmistakable joy. They choose not retreat into their pain but continue to reach out to others with beautiful acts of service and words of encouragement.

Their example inspires me.

*As the crowd began to thin out, a young man in a sports uniform walked toward the field, an athletic bag slung over his shoulder. Behind him came a heavy-set boy who was hurrying to catch up to his classmate. He called out his name. The athlete turned around without breaking his stride, barely glancing at the boy. The boy called out a question as he continued to follow. For a moment, it looked as if the athlete was going to ignore the question. However, he did turn his head to give a very quick response before breaking into a run, widening the distance between the two of them.

I saw the hurt look cross the boy’s face. He slowed down, no longer trying to catch up. He adjusted his backpack and continued on alone.

Heartbreaking.

*Both the football and soccer teams were practicing. I found myself wishing I had just a fraction of their energy. 🙂 I also found myself reminicsing about how much fun Friday night football games were when I was in high school a million years ago.

*My heart broke for the young girl who wore an extremely revealing outfit and let loose with a stream of profanity as she walked to the vehicle parked next to mine. Aside from the mom in me who wanted to cover her up, I felt grieved that she seemed to think so little of herself. I longed to tell her that her Creator has crowned her with glory and honor (Psalm 8:5) and she is more than the sum of her parts. Rather than seeking attention through her body and shocking language, I wish she knew that she is seen and loved at all times by Jesus.

*Finally, I saw my favorite 15 year old walk to the car (I would pick up my daughter later after volleyball practice). I am discovering that I am really enjoying logging all this time in the car with the kids. We have great conversations. Climbing into the front seat seems to immediately loosen their tongues and I am privileged to have the chance to hear all that is on their minds.

It’s my favorite part of the day.

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