My son had woken up the night before screaming, a nightmare maybe? Stayed up for an hour nursing, then still woke up at 6:30 just as I was sitting down with my breakfast to try to watch a few minutes of tv.
It was raining.
It was monday.
And I was sleepy…all culminating to me not feeling the happiest or the most charitable.
I was at a red light. The light had barely turned green, the car had not yet moved in front of me (rightfully so…since it had JUST turned green) when I hear a honk behind me. I see in my rearview mirror a man waving his hand angrily forward as if to say “GO GRANDMA!” (It actually looked like he was probably saying more choice words, but I’ll keep this blog G-Rated). As I moved forward when I was physically able to, the guy missed the light. As I looked back (should never do that…you’ll always be turned into a pillar of salt) the man was shooting me a bird.
Well that just hurt my feelings!
I couldn’t believe it. I didn’t do anything wrong. Nor did anyone else for that matter. Why was he so angry?
Didn’t he know I was someone’s daughter? Someone’s wife, mom and friend? Doesn’t he know that I’m a nice person and no one is to blame? (Except for maybe the city of Richmond, because it is an admittedly very short light)
As I pulled into my parking space at work, I was still hurt and fuming. So as any good Christian, I began to pray.
“Dear God….MAKE HIM SEE THE ERRORS OF HIS WAYS!! LET HIS DAY BE HORRIBLE SO HE FEELS REMORSE FOR THE WAY HE MADE ME FEEL!! MAY HE KNOW WHAT A MEAN, HORRIBLE BULLY HE IS!!!”
And then I remembered an incident that happened a few years ago. I can’t recall what made this particular day so horrible, but I remember the feelings I felt. Out of control, sad, stressed and at my wits end. I got honked at, though this time it was justified as I didn’t notice the light turn green.
I immediately flipped them a bird.
Once I realized what I did, I pulled into a parking lot and cried. This wasn’t me. I’m kind to strangers. I’m a pretty positive person who loves Jesus. I don’t flip people off. But I just did, at a moment when I felt utterly defeated.
I thought about that man. I wondered what made him make that gesture to me. Maybe he got a bad medical diagnosis. Or he was on his way to a job interview after being out of work for a year. Maybe he felt alone, scared…defeated.
My prayer changed. I asked prayer that he could receive love that day. That whatever was making him miserable and angry would be covered over with peace.
If I was a perfect person, this would be the point where I’d say ‘The End’ to the story. I carried on with love for the rest of the day.
But I’m not perfect. I would think about that image in my rearview mirror and get mad all over again. (I tend to dwell on things if you haven’t noticed…) Thankfully Jesus is a patient Champ, and so consistently reminded me throughout the day, that what you see on the outside, isn’t always the entire story.