I drove to Chicago to see friends who were coming in from out of state for a conference. I would only get to see them for a few short hours, but it was totally worth the drive for me! I picked them up, ate some delicious Giordano’s pizza, then took them back to their hotel to spend a couple hours before they needed to start meetings.
Despite their protests, I wanted to pay for lunch. They had been incredibly generous to me through the past year, and I felt it was the least I could do. When we pulled into the parking lot and got my entry ticket, they offered to give me money to pay for parking. I appreciated it, but I assured them I’d take care of it.
We enjoyed a couple more hours together, said our goodbyes, and I headed to the main floor of hotel convention center. Before leaving the building, I checked with the front desk clerk to ask how to pay for parking. The minimum charge was $20, but she took my ticket, smiled, and validated it. Free parking!
I walked to my van, and as I got in, I saw what my friends had left behind: money to cover their pizza and my parking. (Can parking be double-free?)
I sat in my van and cried. Not because of free parking or cash to cover pizza but because of unexpected grace – blessings I don’t deserve and didn’t expect: friends who abundantly pour into me and God who constantly provides. Above and beyond. Over and over.
I kept my parking ticket, because to me, it’s a reminder of grace. A reminder for which I am extremely grateful.