The other night, as I blithely pulled in to "my" spot, I happened to read the canvas cover a little more carefully.
Amazing how one little word can give a whole new meaning to a sign.
I can't imagine why I thought the word "NO" looked anything like the word "FREE," other than the fact that I simply wanted it to. I read it wrong the first night and never gave it a passing glance the other five.
Of course, once I knew better I was horrified and wondered how I'd escaped a ticket for six weeks! My car and I slunk away in shame, searching for a legitimate parking spot, but not before I laughed at myself. Everyone needs to be able to do that.
Can you imagine my telling a judge, "I thought the sign said 'Free Parking'?" Perhaps he would require an adult reading class in addition to my writing class--along with a fine.
When I don't pay attention, it's easy to misinterpret signs. I risk the possibility of receiving a ticket or even having an accident--all because I simply don't take the time to notice important details.
Similarly, I risk offending people and coming across as uncaring when I don't pay attention to or take notice of their thoughts or feelings. It's easy to misread a sign--traffic or human--when I'm in a hurry, or worse--when I simply choose to look the other way and ignore it. And the repercussions of that on a human level are far more complex than a parking ticket.
Being "too busy" is a poor excuse. We can be busy and still slow down enough to take notice of the signs around us.
When I slow down enough to pay attention, and to really take notice, my relationships are enriched and my senses restored. I notice things like this:
But especially this:
I might have missed that questioning look if I wasn't paying attention.
Lest you think I've perfected this paying attention thing, allow me to share with you one more sign that I saw as I pulled alongside the empty curb in front of the library the other day--the same place I've been parking for months (on a weekday at 5:00 pm).
Yeah...no more words are needed.
Blessings Along the Path,
Sharing this blog with some of these lovelies