Lost in the Parking Lot

It happened more than a year ago but I will probably never live it down—at least among my grandchildren.  Julie and I had gone to our favorite ladies’ wear store, Cato, to shop their clearance sale.  This boutique was in the same shopping center as the big WalMart super store, with many other small stores in between.  When we came out of Cato, we debated on whether or not to drive the car closer to WalMart or walk.  We knew we would have a lot of groceries, etc, when we came out, so we decided to move the car.

The parking lot was packed.  We inched up and down several lanes, weaving around people and their carts, waiting as cars backed out of their spots, dodging careless, impatient drivers.  I concentrated on not getting hit or hitting someone else.  Finally after several minutes of this, I had had enough.  I claimed the next empty parking spot I saw and pulled in quickly.  At last!  I breathed a sigh of relief and looked up.  There we were—right back in front of Cato’s!

Julie and I burst out laughing.  No!  We tried again and finally found an acceptable parking spot closer to WalMart.  Then we made the mistake when we got home of telling the kids about it.  “Ha ha!” they laughed.  “Grandma got lost in the parking lot!”  The matter was exacerbated when I had two or three other (shall we say) negative experiences in unfamiliar parking lots in the days following.  It became a familiar phrase—“Grandma got lost in the parking lot!  Ha-ha-ha-ha!”

That was a year ago.  The other day I got a chance to talk to the kids on the telephone.  When it came to Hannah’s turn we chatted for a few minutes and then she asked me what I had done all day. “Oh, I did some work on the computer; I made some phone calls and wrote some e-mails; I washed some dishes and did some laundry…and oh, yes!  I did a little shopping on the internet!  That was fun!  I bought a blouse for the banquet we are having at Kohls.com!  I’ve never gone clothes shopping on the internet before!”

Without missing a beat, eight-year-old Hannah said in her sweet little girl voice, “Well, at least you didn’t get lost in the parking lot, Grandma!”   I laughed from the comfort of my recliner.  How my grandchildren love to tease Grandma!  And I give them plenty of material to use against me, I suppose.

We all get there eventually as we get older, don’t we?  How many times have I come out of the store, not lost myself, but looking for my lost car?  And I know I am not the only one on that count!  I see them all the time—seniors wandering around the parking lot, necks craned and a blank look in their eyes, muttering, “Where did I leave my car?”  I can only smile sympathetically at them and wish them the best.  Of course, now that I have a panic button on my key fob, as a last resort I can push the button and there she is—honking and flashing her lights at me several rows over.   “Here I am, Mama!  Come and get me!”

I wish I had a similar button for my keys, the TV remote, my glasses, the cheese (in the silverware drawer, of course!), the ice cream (not in the freezer, but a soupy mess in the refrigerator), etc.  I am always losing things.  It would worry me that I am headed for Alzheimer’s, except that my friends and family who are of like age do the same goofy things.

Along with the aches and pains, the slower walk, loss of hearing and sight, and oh yes—the gray hair under all the “highlighting,”  those senior moments are just par for the course when it comes to getting older.  One of my dad’s favorite sayings used to be “Of all the things I’ve ever lost, I miss my mind the most!”  Somehow I don’t think senior discounts, which I always forget to ask for anyway (figures!) or perks quite make up for all the negatives.  The best reward I can think of for getting old are those same sweet, precious grandchildren who love to tease me about getting old!  (They love to tease, but then if I say anything about being old, they loudly protest, “Grandma, you’re not old—or fat, either!”)

Well, the brain does get old and forgetful.  Bob and I have taken to keeping a white board on our refrigerator and writing reminders, large and small, on it.  I walk past it a hundred times a day and see those reminders, and it really has helped, at least with appointments, things to do and when to do them.

Likewise, the Bible is full of reminders.  Over and over we are told to “Remember…”, “Forget not…,” be “in remembrance,” or “in mind of.”  God wants us to remember His great works; His mercy; His lovingkindness; His commandments and covenants; His Word.  We are to remember Jesus Christ and His Gospel; remember one another and those in authority over us and the poor; remember where we were and how far we have come now in Christ.  We are told not to forget His blessings; His laws; to get wisdom and understanding; to do good and be hospitable.  We are to be in remembrance of His holiness; to be in remembrance of the sacrificial body and blood of Christ through the ordinance of Communion; be in remembrance of one another.

The Bible is like my little white board.  Every time we walk through it, we see reminders of how we are to live and think and how we ought to relate to God and one another.  We see reminders of His laws and commandments, His promises and His blessings.  We are reminded of His nature and His great works—both in this universe and in our own personal lives.  The more we are in God’s Word, the better we will remember all these things—even if we are getting old and our brains may not be as sharp as they once were.  Somehow, the Word of God remains—even when we cannot remember why we walked into a room or our children’s names!

God’s Word is full of these reminders, but I will leave you with only one passage today since it speaks to both our getting old and to our grandchildren, the crowns of our lives.  “For He knoweth our frame; He remembereth that we are dust.  As for man, his days

are as grass: as a flower of the field, so he flourisheth.   For the wind passeth over it, and it is gone; and the place thereof shall know it no more.  But the mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear Him, and His righteousness unto children’s children; To such as keep His covenant, and to those that remember His commandments to do them.” (Psalm 103:14-18)

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