As I was driving downtown yesterday, a young woman thought I was not going fast enough and sped around me. She gave me the “mean face” look as she passed me. One minute later, I pulled up beside her at a red light. She refused to look at me. She had sped down the road and I had traveled at the normal sped. We had both reached a stopping point. Her sped did not get her anywhere faster.
When the light turned green, she sped off quickly, only to get stopped at the NEXT red light. Ironically, I rolled up beside her again. When this 2nd red light turned green, again the same thing happened. She sped off quickly. I rolled out and then rolled up beside her at another red light a few blocks away. This little comedy happened about four times, might have been five. I was laughing hysterically. She was sulking. She finally turned and I continued straight on to my destination. From this little encounter, the Lord reminded me of a few lessons.
First, speeding is not necessary. We will all get stopped at red lights and the extra speed is not necessarily going to get you there faster. It only puts everyone else in danger. I hope that in her young life she learns this lesson sooner rather than later. As she sped away, I said a quick prayer for her safety and the safety of those who travel around her.
Second, kindness is always a good idea. You never know if the person you were rude to will be the one who rolls up beside you at the red light, is the next person interviewing you for a job, the banker that you need that loan from, or your next in-law that your cousin marries. Kindness is just best. I was kind to a woman once who sat with me and applied for Financial Aid at Texarkana College. She was scared at being a single mother and going back to college. I honestly do not remember her. But she remembered me and told me so when I ran into her at Kohl’s where she was an Assistant Manager and I was returning a purchase. Kindness IS worth it. I have also had it flipped where I had once openly expressed my dissatisfaction with a government employee at the food stamp office. I was less than nice as I verbally told her what I thought about their system. (All that ranting and story is really for a different blog.) I met the same woman at a church I visited a few weeks later. My face was red. I thought her greeting after recollection could have helped the awkward moment better. She was less than forgiving. But then, I didn’t ask for it either. None are perfect and we all fall short of the glory of God. (Romans 3:23)
Last, I have learned to laugh at life and God’s lessons. Life is too short not to find the hilarious joy at something so silly. Just a few moments before, I had been crying at news of a sweet friend in the hospital with grim diagnosis. I was wallowing in selfishness that I don’t want to think of the world without her on it. The Lord threw my laughter out there to break me from the tears. Proverbs 17:22 says, “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” When this little comedy at the red light began, it could have taken a very different path and outcome. When I was that young girl’s age, I probably would have stuck my tongue out, had a haughty look or made a right turn to go around the block and avoid having to pull up next to the older woman again. But now, I am older and I have learned to laugh. It was probably scarier to her that I was laughing manically while wiping tears from my eyes. How ironic was it that it happened not once, not twice but several times? It was like a surreal moment in a comedy sitcom like Malcolm in the Middle.
Laugh with me that life is ever changing. It gets better. It gets worse. We get older, and hopefully wiser. Hair grows, and grass in the yard, and wrinkles on our faces. Children grow and 2:00 am feedings do not go on forever. My oldest is almost a junior in college. My 2nd child will be a senior in high school. My Wonderboy, surprise baby is 9 years old now. I thought when I had him at 35 that it was the hardest thing in my motherhood. I laugh now because it certainly got harder and he did not stay little. Life never stays the same. If we are down and blue now, it will change. It might get worse before it gets better, but it will not stay the same. If I am doing something stupid, I will be the first to laugh at myself. I also learned that my real friends with laugh with me. They know I will laugh when I fall down or trip in a hole. They are not scared of hurting my feelings. They are already laughing with me at how life is ever changing. Try kindness in the little things and laughter at the unexpected. It makes our crazy life here on earth, oh so much better.