How much would you pay for a friend?

Yesterday, I worked until 3:45 p.m., drove back toward my apartment- the opposite direction I would eventually be going, to pick up a girl I had never met, so that we could go to a fundraiser.

Traffic was not as bad as it could have been so I arrived in the area where I was going to pick up unknown girl (okay, I’m making it sound really dramatic- she was a girl from church that also wanted to attend the gala but didn’t have a car…) about an hour and a half beforehand. This was fine because I thought I’d just chill at a coffee shop and do some work. I found a sweet parking spot- metered, but still good. I put in my credit card– decided an hour and 40 minutes would be more than enough time and headed inside.

All was going well. I was feeling very accomplished having remembered my makeup, and a nicer outfit for the event. It was exactly 5:45 p.m. and my new friend was not quite there yet, but I was sure she’d arrive soon. At 5:51 p.m. she called. She was at a different coffee shop. No big deal, she’d be right over. I stepped outside so that she could see me.

As I looked down the street, I saw him.

Man with a yellow vest

standing in front of my car.

I shuffled over in my heels to my car- and quickly, apologetically, asked, “Am I too late!?”

The man looked up at me blankly and dryly asked, “Would you like to stay two more hours or take the ticket now?”

Parkingtix“I’m leaving now,” I said and took the ticket from him. “Happy Friday,” I said to him looking at my ticket. I kind of meant it, I was trying to make peace- he looked at me non-responsively- not sure if I sincerely meant it or not, probably not caring. If I had to judge my own attitude in the moment, I think I definitely meant it more sarcastically.

I was

up

set.

I have been trying so hard to be frugal, responsible, conscientious and all I felt was completely

crushed.

My budget does not include a $63 parking ticket… I imploded:

“God, really!? I’m doing all this, trying to be helpful to others and this is what I get!? … I didn’t even have to be here, to pick up this girl I don’t even know… If only I would have paid 25 cents more, I could have avoided all of this… seriously!? Is this what I get for trying to be frugal and helpful? I’ve been trying so hard… I’m so glad I’m a complete failure… I hate this…”

How much would you pay for a friend?

“What!? What does that even mean?”

I didn’t have much time to ruminate on this because the girl I was waiting for showed up. I wanted to cry. I was still steeping in the disappointment and frustration of my $63 ticket. I hate L.A. parking.

I vented to her about the parking ticket as nonchalantly as possible- I didn’t want her to think I was mad at her. I was mad at myself and not sure how I felt about God for letting it happen.

As we were driving, I tried to put it behind me. I tried to focus on the fact that it was over, that there was nothing I could do about it now. That used to work better when I had a more padded bank account. Now, I was just worrying and upset and angry and back to “Seriously Lord!? Why did this happen? I am NOT happy right now. None of this would have happened if I would have just gone straight to the gala… look what happens when I try to help others. Awesome. Back fire. Sweet. I’m.so.angry.”

How much would you pay for a friend?

I ignored this question again. I didn’t have time to think about it. I was trying to get to know the girl in my car. She was quieter so I had to ask a lot of questions.

We had a nice conversation and arrived at the gala in good time, only having to circle the block once because I missed where we were supposed to park.

The event was incredibly eye-opening. It was a fundraising gala for Treasures – a non profit organization that reaches out to women in the sex entertainment industry. Did you know that between 66% to 90% of women in the sex industry were sexually abused as children? Or that 89% of women in the sex industry said they wanted to escape, but had no other means for survival? Me either. Hearing their stories of where they came from and how God had rescued them was so powerful. God did not come for the healthy but for the sick, the broken, the meek- for us.

Although the event itself was great, God was doing more than I realized.

As we were walking into the event, I was extremely thankful that I didn’t have to arrive at the event alone- showing up alone to things is the worst and my new friend was very sweet.

—-

At the after party, we sat down and talked a bit more about what we had just heard. As we were talking, I realized my new friend seemed sad.

I came to learn that she was at a place that I have been before,

feeling distant from God

and not sure how to get back to Him.

I had the opportunity to share my story with her and realized- people need to hear about our brokenness, what God has done for us, more than how shiny our lives are.

Last night, I gained a new friend,

and a new heart for women all over the world.

——

How much would you pay for a friend?

Jesus paid it all

for us

and it cost Him

His life.

I think I can handle a $63 parking ticket.

“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.” -Jesus, John 15:12-13

2 thoughts on “How much would you pay for a friend?

  1. So my dear Katie, how much would’ve 2 more hours cost you?? I rather doubt that your car had to physically stay at that specific parking space for 2 hours?? They just wanted the money. Of course, that has nothing to do with your blog, which, as always, I thoroughly enjoyed, not to speak of being challenged. Looking forward to your next blog, and the insight that you are gifted by our Lord to deliver!!! :)

  2. Katie! I loved all of this! I think my favorite stories / blogs from you are ones that involve specific, random people and events God throws across your path that throw you off – like the one with the girl who you were trying to tell her something was wrong with her car and then you ended up sitting next to her at church, ha. That was so awesome! Keep ’em coming.

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