| Encounters |

All I Need to Know I Learned in a Parking Lot

I eased out of my parking spot and began to meander down each row, searching for more bumper-sticker inspiration


I was sitting in a parked car in a crowded parking lot. My son had run into a cell phone store to get his phone fixed. I’d opted to wait in the car with the heat running; I had plenty to do.

First, I made my grocery list, then my errand list, then my Shabbos-menu list. When all that was done, I decided to listen to a TorahAnytime shiur on my phone. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get online. Ho hum.

I flipped down the visor mirror and fiddled with my sheitel bangs. Tried a new style, decided I liked my original style better, messed up the bangs trying to achieve the original style. Organized my pocketbook, sorted through some old receipts. Drummed my fingers on the steering wheel, thought I recognized my son coming out of the store, realized it was a kid who looked like him, examined the state of my three-week-old manicure (poor, definitely poor).

With not much else to do, my gaze wandered from van to van. Just as I have always said, gray Honda Odysseys are the most popular frum car around, followed by gray Pacificas.

The green Tesla next to me was a nice change of pace. Its bumper sticker read: “Be kind, everyone you meet has a challenge you know nothing about.”

Now that was something to think about. It was probably true. Everyone should be treated with a bit of extra kindness. And lately I’ve been realizing that yes, everyone has some sort of nisayon; we all have times when we serve Hashem out of joy and times when we trudge through a dark tunnel. A little kindness goes a long way.

The car across from mine was a black Civic with a hot-pink “Ein od milvado” bumper sticker on its rear bumper. Ah yes, I like to say that aloud a few times a day. So I said it out loud right then for just myself to hear. I heard. I even listened.

This was exciting. I guess inspiration can come from all angles, even without TorahAnytime.

Slowly I eased out of my parking spot and began to meander down each row, searching for more bumper-sticker inspiration.

The vehicles in the Shoppers Haven parking lot didn’t disappoint.

“Talk to Hashem. He is listening.”

“Thank you, Hashem.”

“Honk if you did a chesed today.”

“I thank and support the police department.”

“Believe in yourself.”

“Guard your tongue.”

“Did you check your backseat for your kids?”

“Kind people are my kinda people.”

“I might be slow but I’m ahead of you.”

“Aleph Beis Gimmel, Emunah Bitachon Geulah.”

“Just Jew It!”

“Let go, let G-d.”

My cell phone pinged. My son was ready to be picked up.

I turned the van around and headed to get him. The circle on my google search stopped circling. TorahAnytime was now accessible.

As always.

(Originally featured in Family First, Issue 722)

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