Monday, September 19, 2011

Road Rage and Other Virtues I Possess

So, I'm hoping there is some unspoken statute of limitations in marriage whereby you can blog about an event that took place without appropriate retribution or haggling from your spouse.  With this hope, I proceed.
So I ran down a guy not too long ago in his big ole' Escalade or some flashy rig like such.  I was in my mini-van, perhaps a little sleep deprived, on the way to somewhere when we encountered each other at a four-way stop.  Lovely man didn't stop and smiled as he passed us without even mouthing "I'm sorry" as he broke the law and triggered the citizen cop deep within me.  So what does the incredibly virtuous, mother of two in tow do?  Follow him, of course.  I so wanted to have one those magnetic, strobe-like cop lights to whip out of my diaper bag and throw on the roof as I totally surprise this cat with my part-time job.  I could totally visualize me pulling him over, kids wailing and I don my cop hat as I knock on his window and casually ask, "Didn't see that there stop sign, now did we?" as I smile and write a million-dollar ticket.

Actually, what happened was I did catch up with him and I didn't know what to do with him once I caught him.  He looked over, no doubt surprised at the horsepower under my hood.  I thought about trying to rev my engine but thought it would look totally lame if I accidentally hit the car in front of me.  So instead, I just gave him The Face.  Oh, my kids know The Face and I'm sure my message was loud and clear to this petty criminal.  It was a "don't mess with me, I'm having a bad day and you don't want to know what could happen" face.  The light turned green and we went our separate ways.  I'll probably never know the lasting impact I made on that man ;)

Point being, I never used to have road rage.  In fact, I was appalled at stories I read about this unfamiliar emotion.  But, what happens when you move to the city, have two kids, never get enough sleep, and encounter a cocky, never-learned-to-take-your-turn driver?  Apparently, in my case, road rage happens.  I have thought about this incident several times since it happened, most often asking myself: "How did I get like this?" But that's just it.  How did I get like this?  I became challenged in a different way than I've ever been challenged before.  Sure, it's easy not getting road rage when you're never put in a situation that requires enormous patience behind the wheel.  It's easy to be patient when you don't have kids asking you to do something for them for the five hundredth time today.  It's easy to give money in the collection on Sunday when you have plenty to share.   It's easy to be chaste when you don't have a date!  You get my drift?  The more we interact in the world, the more chances there are to be virtuous but the more chances there are to totally screw things up.  Before we revel in our virtues, it might serve us well to ask if we've ever been really challenged in that area.  I know I thought I lived a simple life, then I lived amongst the really poor in Honduras and realized I had just never been really challenged in my life in that way.  Washing my clothes on a rock?  Now that's simple.  It's also terribly difficult if you want to know the truth.  But I've done it.
Honestly, thinking about this so much can make you really depressed, like "Oh my goodness, if I sit here long enough and really think about it, I'll come to the conclusion that deep inside I'm probably a very broken person.  That, if I'm pushed hard enough, I'll break, too."  But, alas, therein lies the point.  The words of one of my favorite Scripture passages comes seeping back into my heart.  Mark 2:17 when Jesus says "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.  I have not come for the righteous, but for sinners."  Ahhhh.......the beautiful sigh of relief.  So that's why He came.  For people who are so screwed up and who know it.  For the road-ragers.  For me.


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