Tuesday, February 24, 2015

I Flunked a Hard Test

I'm a pretty easy going person.  I mean, I am to that age when a woman's fuse is not quite as long as it used to be, but, as a general rule, I'm usually not one to get too upset about things.  With that being said, every now and then, when hormones, moon phases, weather patterns, stress build up, barometric pressure, pride, blood sugar levels, and caffeine deficiencies all align in a certain way, my scales can tip.  

Yesterday was one of those days.   

I was on my way to work and, about a mile from my destination, there was this one way STOP sign.  I was traveling behind a lady who came to it first and since we were both turning right on the quiet, country road, we briefly checked for oncoming traffic and pulled on out.  We may or may not have made a total, complete, full, absolute stop, but we both seemed to think it was sufficient. 

Well, it came to pass that a highway patrolman was traveling down the road at the time and immediately turned those blinding, blue lights on and started waving us over.  I could tell by the way he was signaling to us so seriously that he was quite proud of his 2 for 1 catch.  He got out of that car like he'd just nabbed two of the country's most wanted, armed, child killers.....like our pictures were hanging in post offices everywhere.....as opposed to two middle aged mothers in their mid-size SUVs who'd just dropped their kids off at school, were headed to work, and didn't linger long enough at the red sign to suit him.  

I sat in my car, while he tended to the other offender, getting more and more angry at the absurdity of the situation.  And then, it was my turn.  He walked up to my car and, after a couple of haughty remarks, I could tell he was one of those who basked in his authority.  He asked for my license and proof of insurance.  License...not a problem.  Proof of insurance........"just a minute, I know it's in here somewhere", I said as I dug around in the console.  Let's see.....Kleenex, Ray-Ban case, Advil, mace, hand sanitizer, cough drops, old receipts, coupon for a free Frosty, USB cord, pen, notepad, lip balm.  Why is it that when someone is standing at your car window wearing a gun, it's harder to find things?  "Oh, here it is!  Oh, wait, no......that one is expired.

He told me to keep looking, while he went back to the car with my license.  Everyone knows the drill.  He's back there calling in the license number to check my record for frequency of violations and outstanding warrants.  Squeaky clean traffic record since '06.  "Surely, I'll just get a warning", I assured myself.  I'm a model citizen.    

Finally, I located my insurance card just as he walked back up to the car and passed my ticket through the window.  I was so mad at this point that I just grabbed the ticket and my license and rolled up the window without saying a word.  It was most un-southern of me and had he been a kind officer, I would've never done that, but his arrogance flew all over me. 

I got to work and I was in the foulest of moods.  I was having a good morning and he'd gotten under my skin.  I mean, there's a nice way to issue a ticket and then there's the way he did it.  And anyway, surely there were criminals more deserving of his time and effort than us.     

I simmered all day in my own natural juices and when I called the court and found out that it would be $159 down the drain, my mood took a couple of flights of stairs down. 

At work, later that day, I found evidence that some shoplifting had taken place at some point.  It's a pretty common occurrence in the retail world no matter where you're located or what you sell.  I thought about how I was there working, paying taxes, being a responsible citizen, and here's a person who just comes in and helps themselves to what they wanted.....like they were entitled to it or something.  Didn't matter who it belonged to or whose pocket it would come out of......just took it.  My mood decided to forget the stairs, at this point, and take the elevator instead........all the way down.  I was mad, mad, mad.  If I just could've gotten my hands on that thief.....           

On my long trip home that afternoon, I was driving along, minding my own business, when I came up on a young woman crossing the road.  I don't know if she mistook me for someone else or what, but I stopped and, as she slowly made her way across, she suddenly decided to give me a hand signal.  Now, there are lots of signals you can make with your hands.  Signals that mean.....ok, good job, chill, peace, and #1, but this one, well, it didn't mean any of those things.  If she was trying to tell me that she was #1, she was one finger off.  No, she was indicating that she wished for me to visit the place of eternal fire. 

Well, that hacked me off!  I didn't know her!  She was a stranger!  What had I done to her besides stop and wait for her to cross the road?  So, as I got right behind her, I did what any mature, middle aged, Bible reading, Christian woman would do.......I laid on the horn and scared the daylights out of her.  Yep, that's what I did.  And it gave me great pleasure to do so.   

By the time I got home, I felt like the Grinch, whose heart was two sizes too small.  I was sick of people at that point and was glad to finally be home with a couple of my favorite people for the night.      

After dinner, we turned on the national news and, after 15 minutes of hearing about injustices and slander and politicians and dishonesty and abuse, and all manner of blood pressure inflators, I'd had all I could take and turned it off.       

I sat in my chair with my feet up and leaned my throbbing head back and remembered what I'd read just the night before in the same chair......even underlined it: 
“If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that."
"But love your enemies, do good to them...... and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked.  Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful." Luke 6: 32-33, 35-36

Eeeeeek!  I'd turned in my test at the end of the day and got it back with a big, red F at the top!  My pride had won the day.  My hormones were taking a victory lap.  I had been more concerned with having the last word than showing the kind of mercy that God shows me every day. 
 
I'm so glad He's not like me. 

His mercies are new every morning.  

So.....tomorrow, I'll get another chance to do better.

Happy mid-week, people!      

    
       

    











16 comments:

  1. Wow that really was a bad day! I can't believe all those things happened in one day. Thank you for sharing and reminding us all to show more love to others, whether they "deserve" it or not.

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    1. It was a bad day, April.....and I was even worse! There's always a next time. :)

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  2. I consider myself too, easygoing. Follow the rules and all. But there are times when the injustices get to you. That's what happen to you. Today is another day and I know it'll be wonderful for you. Take care, Kathleen in Az

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    1. Thanks, Kathleen! I guess we all have days when stuff just gets to us. Hopefully, I'll do better next time. :)

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  3. I have to say, I laughed out loud when you honked at that rude-gesturing,slow-walking lady! It was a Fried Green Tomatoes moment for me and you, my friend, were Kathy Bates! But I loved more how God convicted you and you received it. I’ve been convicted A LOT lately and it certainly helps to hear I am not the only one! Thanks for making me smile!

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    1. Yes! That's what it was......a Kathy Bates moment.....gone bad! hahaha! Thanks, Karmen, for your encouragement! Oh, and glad to hear you have doors now! Hope it's all going well for you :)

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  4. Good thing we have a God who loves us . . . mistakes and all and One who gives us another day, another chance.

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  5. Thanks for being real. We've all had days like that and that's why we need Jesus. I got a ticket once that I felt I didn't deserve, but as I read your story I thought what is the difference in me and the shoplifter? He keeps teaching us and we just have to keep listening and learning. Thanks for the reminder!

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    1. Unfortunately for me, it's a lesson I seem to have to learn over and over. Some of us are slow learners like that. :)

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  6. A friend of mine that I use to work with (Laurie Kennard) shared one of your posts a while back. Once I read one post I had to go back and read all of them. I have so enjoyed reading them. They have been such an encouragement to me so many times! Thank you so much for being transparent and for your encouraging posts. It's helped this pastor's wife out many times :)

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  7. Awwww, thank you so much! Laurie is one of my best buddies! Thank you for reading!!

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  8. What a wonderful blog you have! I've been reading for the past year and I love how you are so dang hilarious while also making valuable observations and teaching important little lessons.

    This is another example of that, though I'll have to admit that I took satisfaction in the parts when you grabbed the ticket from the trooper's hand and honked at the woman!:) Don't worry though, your moral takeaway was not lost on me though.:)

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    1. Thank you so very much! That means a lot to me......seriously!

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  9. Joni, I had no idea Highway Patrol could do that on country roads, and if its who I bet it was he lives out that way. Not right, I tell you, not right at all.

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    1. I know, right? Well, I'm sure you know who it is. I hear his reputation precedes him. :)

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