Immanuel Lutheran Church
3801 Cunningham Road
Killeen, Texas 76542
Ph: 254.634.2772

Oct 4, 2020

Recently my wife Deb and I visited a local big-box home improvement store to look for a few items we needed for the house. After a period of time—which I’m sure was too long for her and too brief for me—we ended up with a single marigold plant in a hanging pot to add to the other potted hanging plants already dying on our back porch. 

As it was hot in the store Deb opted to wait in the car with the AC running while I stood in the socially distant line waiting to check out. 
Completing my purchase I rolled my cart to our parked car, about 1/3 of the way down the parking lot. We had “combat parked,” which means we pulled through the parking space so our car was facing out of the spot. I pushed my cart down the aisle that brought me to the trunk of the car. I popped the trunk, grabbed the marigold, placed it in the trunk, and using the available detritus, blocked and braced the pot so I wouldn’t have an empty pot, a bunch of twisted stems, and dirt all over the inside of the trunk when we got home. 

I then turned back to the cart...and it wasn’t there. A quick scan of the parking lot told me that it was rapidly accelerating across the parking lot like a rocket sled trying to break the land speed record. I immediately gave chase as it was heading straight for a shiny new blue car about 50 yards away. I sprinted across the parking lot without heed for my safety, my sole focus to prevent a phone call that might lead to an increase in my insurance premium. I was able to catch up and grab the cart mere inches from impact, thereby averting disaster for myself and the owner of the shiny new blue car who was never even aware of the danger. 

As I parked the cart in the closest corral, a truck drove by giving me a honk of the horn and a thumbs up for my great save. Returning the salute, I slowly walked back to my car while trying to catch my breath, opened the door, got in, took my mask off, and sighed. Deb looked over at me and said, “Why did you park the cart way down there?” She had missed the entire event. 

Many dangers lurk in parking lots: Moving cars, runaway carts, soliciting remodeling contractors, and possibly even muggers. Please note that no person or object was hurt or damaged during this event, though my many-years-in-the-Army-damaged-ankle did not speak to me for the rest of the day.                                                                
I went to a lot of effort and expended a great deal of energy to save a stranger’s car from a dent and a scratch, and also to prevent my own embarrassment from having lost control of my cart. I would hope that were a stranger’s physical body in great need or danger that I would be willing to expend just as much energy and not walk away saying I don’t want to get involved. This near-miss reminded me of the parable of the sheep and the goats in the book of Matthew chapter 25, and I hope and pray that when the time comes I will be willing to expend great energy, time, and talents to give the hungry something to eat, the thirsty something to drink, to invite the stranger in, to clothe the naked, to care for the sick, and to visit those in prison. 
It is my fervent prayer that the Lord will always provide the members of Immanuel Lutheran Church with plenty and that from our plenty we will continue to share with those in need as we have done for more than 130 years. 

Many blessings to each and every one of you!

Shawn Kelley
Council President,       Immanuel Lutheran Church