sometimes i have the sort of temper that has the potential to get me in trouble. i’ve got a pretty good handle on it, now that i’m older. but over the years it’s erupted at times out of proportion to whatever perceived slight i’ve suffered.
i’ve gotten into near fist fights with strangers…and people i know.
i’ve followed people who’ve pissed me off on the road, honking, yelling, cussing. acting all kinds of crazy. once, i rear-ended a guy. by the literal grace of God, no one was injured and the cars were more or less fine. (what’s that saying? God protects children and fools? in my defense, i was both.)
mostly what sets me off so that my emotions completely eclipse any bit of rationality in my mind, is when i feel disrespected. i mean, all rudeness is ultimately disrespect. but to me there’s a difference between targeted disrespect and general rudeness.
and disrespect makes me rage.
so yesterday, i was on the receiving end of some abject stupidity on the part of another driver. and sadly, instead of rising above it–despite it being the Sabbath…despite the fact that i’d gone to church that morning for the first time in who knows how long–i let some stranger’s disrespect sink me down to a petty, angry, silently-seething-on-the-verge-of-raging level.
what i did wasn’t as bad as some of the things i did in my younger years in the name of road rage. kiddo #2 was in the car with me after all. but in a way, that makes it worse. because i knew better. and i did just enough that the other driver was aware, but not so much that my child was.
i also made (several) social media posts with pictures of the other driver’s car, license plate, and description in various places.
but when all was said and done, i know i was wrong. and then i felt bad, because despite what the other driver did or didn’t deserve, i’m better than that.
dr. wayne dyer has a great lesson that speaks to the heart of what i experienced yesterday…and why, with a little time and distance, i was chastened. you should totally click the link and read it for yourself, but here’s a quote from him:
“What comes out when life squeezes you? When someone hurts or offends you? If anger, pain and fear come out of you, it’s because that’s what’s inside…
When someone puts the pressure on you and out of you comes anything other than love, it’s because that’s what you’ve allowed to be inside.”
clearly, what was inside me yesterday at the point of my interaction with that driver was…not a whole lot of love.
later yesterday evening, during the ‘get the kids to bed’ portion of my evening, i had a long talk with my boys. and although it didn’t start off on such a great note (they were kind of getting a lecture about something that had happened earlier), it ended absolutely beautifully. i had one of those moments with them where i was just so thankful that God saw fit to make me their mom, because they’re such amazing little(ish) human beings and i’m just so blessed to watch them become more amazing every day.
and in those moments with my wildboys, my heart was absolutely bursting with love. and honestly, that’s what i want to remember as much as possible. every single moment of every single day.
that silly driver clearly wasn’t experiencing much love in her heart either, but the next time i encounter someone like her, i want to be so filled to the brim with all of the good things i know to be true in my life–love, joy, peace, blessings heaped on blessings–that nothing someone else does can bring me down to that level of pettiness/bitterness/lack of self-control.
i’ve worn my tendency toward pettiness like a badge of honor. so the fact that i’m actually wanting to not be that chick anymore…well, let me just assure you that it’s major, glorious growth for me.
you gotta start somewhere, right?