Guy Who Parked In Handicapped Space Gets What He Deserved

I can’t say I’ve ever parked in a handicapped space. Although I admit I was very tempted one evening when I was using my mother’s car and discovered that my grandma (whom she had been travelling with) had left her handicapped sticker on the visor.

Whenever it’s dark out I like to park close to my destination, a natural precaution of young females travelling alone who don’t want to end up on the news the following day. However, my destination that night was the gym and I just couldn’t stomach the thought of an actual handicapped person seeing me return to my car from that location where I had the perfect freedom to sit, stand, lift or run as the various machines required. So I parked somewhere else a little further back feeling bad that I’d even considered it.

A little while later I was on facebook and I saw a video of a man who did not resist the hptemptation to park in a handicapped space even though he did not need it and did not have any handicapped sticker. In protest of the action, someone had covered his car in all blue post-it notes and had used white post-it notes to depict the familiar symbol of the white stick figure in a wheelchair. The person had, in effect, transformed the entire vehicle into a handicapped sign.

When the driver returned to his car a crowd had formed and they were laughing hysterically and cheering as he tried to remove the post-its and drive away in humiliation. Many had their phones to film it as well, which of course is how I ended up seeing the encounter.

It struck me that this is the merciless morality of my generation. It is a morality without an underlying moral code. Just a public mob policing each other in civic virtue in order to encourage conformity to public consensus of which actions are “good” and which are “bad” because we prefer relativism based on the capricious whim of the people to morality based on the law of God.

I don’t know what sort of man the driver is because I’ve never met him. I don’t know what sort of day he was having because it was not revealed in the short video I watched. But the people in the crowd knew exactly what type of man he was because they judged him as a person based on this one action and decided that because they hated the action they would also hate the man.

I reject that model, first and foremost as a Christian, because I have always been taught to fight hatred with love. To hate the sin, but never the sinner. This model also gives you something that the model I described above does not give: humility.

Because I have said it before and I am certain I will say it again, it is impossible to judge someone without loving yourself a little more and the other person a little less. The crowd did more than enjoy with loud cheers the spectacle of another man’s humiliation, they reveled in their shared hatred of him and were united in their elite claim to never having parked in a handicapped space, or at the very least not being caught at it and condemned like this particular driver. This frightens me. Not only because it is un-Christian but because it is a cowardice that cloaks itself in reason, to the point that I believe many would argue against my synopsis and defend the crowd’s actions as reasonable. The video itself is titled, “Guy Who Parked His Car In Handicapped Parking Space Gets What He Deserved

Hate is always reasonable because it is founded on a reason which to your mind, and maybe the minds of your peers, justifies you in hating that person/action etc. Every person has this capacity and yet I would argue that the best judges are not the most reasonable ones who swoop in for cold hard justice, but the ones who call for mercy because mercy is a check against human nature. Mercy is an unreasonable and inexplicable desire to love one’s neighbor even when he has made a bad choice. Trusting that in spite of an error in judgement there might still be something redeemable in him.

I point this out because I don’t want a world ruled by a mob like the one I saw on that video. A purely secular courtroom based on the timelessly old adage “an eye for an eye.” Because I would rather walk the hard road, to be called a naive, idealistic, sucker who sets myself up for being disappointed by others and is swindled by cries for mercy from undeserving jerks trying to masquerade as good people than to be the type of person I saw in that video, one who revels in the fall of another person because they don’t believe they’re also capable of falling.

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Haters Are My Motivation

So today as I was walking around the city I saw a shirt that read “Haters are my Motivation.” And all I could think was “what a terrible motivation.” And as often happens with me I just couldn’t get this random thirty-second encounter out of my head. I mean I see where she’s coming from, it sounds like a quote someone would post on Tumblr.

In a direct sense, I suppose it’s only fair to admit that it probably means that if you already have “haters” you shouldn’t let it affect you negatively and instead let it fuel your fire to succeed. Yet why hold on to wounded pride as a motivator, isn’t there greater freedom in taking a page from Princess Elsa’s playbook and completely letting it go?

In my experience the road to happiness is love and if your pride is wounded it is indicative that you insist on loving yourself for a reason instead of loving yourself simply because you are. And using your success as revenge to give you a smug satisfaction in being able to lord it over your enemies is a weak band-aid at best, because then instead of having one group of people consumed with hate you have two, the original haters and yourself who responded to their hatred of you with a mutual hatred for them. And, ironically, I would argue that loving your enemies is the better path because it allows you to reject harboring hatred in your heart and avoid the ultimate punishment of becoming exactly like them.

So have I over-thought this t-shirt? Absolutely. Over-thinking is one of my talents. But I point it out because the world always encourages you to be happy by satisfying yourself by every worldly standard, by “earning” every luxury, success, and victory. It is a model that insists your happiness should depend on attaining some worldly thing, whether it be success, or a nice car, or a committed relationship, and your power and self-worth is subsequently determined by how successful you are in getting that thing. “Haters” may fuel your desire to get that thing you want even more and you could, if you wanted to, rub it in their face when you get it.

But this way of life is a lie because it makes you a slave, a slave to whatever it is you are desiring because it makes your happiness contingent on the things of this world. Not the things that you have in the present moment but the things you anticipate having in your future, a future which is unreliable and cannot be controlled as much as society would lead you to believe. Moreover, even if you do accomplish your goal the feeling of accomplishment is not by its nature able to perpetually satisfy you and at best you will just end up in this cycle again as you pursue the next desire.

And I point this out because on a personal level I want more to my life than a succession of 5-year plans designed with outpacing my competition and my “haters” in mind. I firmly believe it’s so much easier to be happy simply by letting God love you because then your happiness can be as constant as God Himself.

And why complicate something so wonderfully and profoundly simple as that?