Why I Always Park on the Roof

Rebekah and Andrew on the roof at TPA, Thursday evening

Once in a while, as Great World Travelers will, our son – Andrew – makes his way to TPA (Tampa International Airport) and we enjoy a few days together. Yesterday evening his priority coded baggage rolled off literally first, and we headed up the Armstrong elevator to the 9th floor – the roof – where I always park.

It just takes a few moments more to ride all the way up. There’s fresh air up there, and 360 degrees of expansive views, and summer storm clouds forming to the east. You can see airplanes landing and taking off for far places. You can see cars heading somewhere. And there’s the city, teeming with life, set out like a Lego set with matchbox cars.

Andrew has always been interested in his world. I remember driving through downtown Atlanta when he was a baby and he’d always have his head tilted, looking up at the buildings, or the clouds, or an airplane. Pointing, tracking. His favorite book was the Richard Scarry collection of things that go: planes, trains, trucks, cars, bicycles, buses… and he’d always gravitate to the planes. And he thumbed through encyclopedias from the first day he could hold a book; maps, diagrams, cut-aways.

In kindergarten he flabbergasted the teacher when she mention Mt Everest, “The tallest mountain in the world.” She wanted to know if anyone had heard about it, or where it was? “The Himalayas,” Andrew said. “If you want to get there you have to fly over the Atlantic Ocean, go over France, the Alps, and the rest of Europe. After Turkey you have to steer across the Middle East and India. Then you get to the biggest mountains in Tibet and Nepal. It’s a long way to Everest…”

So it was no surprise when he turned his stellar college performance into a government job that promised to take him all over Europe and beyond. I’m no travel slouch myself, but Andrew passed by long ago in terms of reach, and he’s well on the way to lapping me before he leaves his 20’s.

Anyone can travel, of course, especially if your job makes it possible. But not everyone embraces the opportunity with such gusto and gratitude. Which is my point in mentioning Andrew in this post. Andrew quite simply makes the most of his life. It’s an unremarkable statement at face value, but it represents an essential tenet of “The Life-Charged Life” that pretty much sets the tone across the board.

Because there’s very little more offensive to me than squandered opportunity. Especially here in the Land of Plenty.

How many people do we run into who engage this and every other day with a pervasive chronic case of “I don’t give a crap and it really doesn’t matter”?

BUT…. “This day belongs to the Lord; let’s celebrate and be glad today!” (Psalm 118:24, CEV) Not tomorrow, not yesterday, not next year, not maybe. But today. This day. “Now is the acceptable time; look, now is the right time!” (2 Corinthians 6:2)

I can’t get over how beautifully this concept comes across in Eugene Peterson’s translation of Psalm 118:

  • This is God’s work. We rub our eyes—we can hardly believe it! This is the very day God acted—  let’s celebrate and be festive! Salvation now, God. Salvation now! Oh yes, God—a free and full life!
So much to see...

There’s so much in this amazing world that can capture us, and add a charge to our life!

Some people never even look. But it just takes a few moments more to ride the elevator to the 9th level, to walk over to the edge, and look into the sunset, or the sunrise, or the expanse of the city, or over the water toward the Gulf of Mexico….

Now you know why I always park on the roof – DEREK


  1. That was an awesome storm! The Peterson’s stood in the yard for about 10 min just watching the colors and the lightning!


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