Assuming the Worst

Yikes.  Yikes, wow and oh my gosh.

I don’t think I’ve ever made someone angry, like red-hot mad, in carpool lane before!  This morning as I rounded the little curve into the carpool lane at my daughters’ elementary school the car in front of me abruptly stopped.  I sat for a second and then thought well maybe they need to turn instead of continue in carpool lane, so without a second thought I drove around.

I guess that was not the right choice!

As I drove around him, the driver was looking at me with a scowl and expression as though I were the devil’s bride.  And before I  knew it he whipped around me!  Sped up to get back in front of me in carpool lane!  At the elementary school!  As he passed me his hands were in the air and he was saying something and safe to say it wasn’t have a great day.  Smile.

I inched along kind of stunned.  I recognized the dad and his daughter!  Rivers said, I think he is pretty mad.  Why is he so mad?  I told her maybe he thought I was being impatient and rude when I went around him but really, truly I wasn’t!  No harm intended.

But yikes!

As I pulled away from the school I had that heavy feeling I get at times when I would really like to clear the air because I’m feeling misunderstood.  Well, I just don’t like someone to be angry at me, especially when they are obviously assuming the worst about me!  Never-the-less, I decided not to follow this dad to the stop sign to explain I really didn’t mean to offend him.  Maybe I would get a chance to do that sometime, seeing as how his daughter and mine are in the same grade and we have attended the same field trips and school events.  In the mean time, I remembered the message my Pastor’s wife shared on Sunday about praying for people who mistreat us.  Perhaps it seems like this is a stretch, I  mean I wasn’t being persecuted!  Laugh!  But maybe he is having a really bad morning.  Or maybe he is dealing with serious issues in life right now.  Or, maybe he just has a bad temper and is angry at the world, assuming the worst about the motives of others.  I said a little prayer and then, oh can’t you guess it, I realized I do the same thing to people.  Sigh…

Don’t I assume the worst of people and their motives when I don’t even know them?  When I’m in traffic and someone won’t let me over (with my turn signal ON!), don’t I assume they are just selfish?  I do!  I do!  When I’m in a store and someone ignores my sweet baby as she babbles and says “heyyyy!” and smiles at them, don’t I assume they are a grump?  I do!  I do!  When someone doesn’t respond to me in the manner and time frame I want, don’t I assume they are being rude?  I do!  I do!

I promise with all my carpool driving, mommy heart I didn’t mean any harm this morning!  I hope he has a good day.  I prayed that he would.  But along the way what a great reminder, a much-needed reminder, that I too assume the worst in people at times.  Maybe that person in traffic didn’t see me and my rule-following turn signal because they really, really need to reach their destination for an important reason.  Maybe that person in the store didn’t hear my baby or isn’t paying attention to her cutie-pie, smiling self because they are focused on how to get the most for their money.  Maybe the person who isn’t responding when and how I want is just plain having a bad day.

Maybe, just maybe, we could all lighten up on one another.  Give each other a bit of that Jesus stuff, you know, grace.  And along the way I promise to be on my best ever carpool lane behavior.

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