I went to dinner and a play with friends on Friday night. I hadn't shoveled my car out from the last snow storm, so at the end of the evening the two guys in the group shoveled out my parking space. All of us who live in the city without garages know that once you get your spot shoveled, it is understood that it is yours. Some put out chairs to make sure no one takes their spot, but in neighborhoods like mine, everyone knows where I always park and they have the courtesy to leave my parking spot for me. Of course, I would never take someone else's spot either.
Saturday, I walked to the Christmas store at the Breakthrough Ministry Center and then to the Breakthrough Joshua Center for the Breakthrough kids program and then drove to a friend's party. I wasn't surprised to find my spot still neatly available when I got home.
Sunday, I spoke at River City Community Church and then drove out to Willow Creek to see their amazing Christmas show with some friends. When I got back to let Charlie (my dog) out before going to another friend's party, I discovered the snow plow had gone down our street and had thrown snow into my spot. Not wanting to violate the unspoken parking code I rammed my car into the spot and knew instantly I was severely stuck. I rocked back and forth a bit and finally called my friends to say I was going to have to miss their party. I had a nice night at home.
Since my apartment is just two blocks from Breakthrough's offices, I had no problem walking to work this morning, but had this nagging concern over how I was going to get my car unstuck.
So I did another commonly accepted routine. I got out my shovel, dug out a few shovels of ice (everything is frozen solid with sub-zero weather in Chicago), and began to rock my car back and forth. Sure enough, within about five minutes my neighbor, Darnell, was there to grab the shovel and a few moments later, Gary from down the street arrived. They shoveled, yelled directions about how my wheels needed to be positioned and whether to move forward or backward, and with combined effort, they lifted my car out of the rut I had dug and I was on my way.
I got out of the car to thank them and ask them if they needed anything. "Oh no", Gary replied, "That's what neighbors are for." So I gave them both hugs! I love my neighbors and I love how Chicagoans pull together in times like these. It seems everyone has a story like mine.