Lately, I have been experiencing something that most New Yorkers know well: road rage. Extreme, “humanity-is-a-needle-in-my-eye-and-why-the-HECK-are-you-jaywalking-when-I’m-clearly-RIGHT-in-front-of-you-do-you-have-a-death-wish-you-crazy-fool” and “Lady-I-don’t-think-I-pushed-you-in-front-of-my-car-you-CHOSE-to-step-in-front-of-me-so-save-your-glare-for-the-mirror” kind of road rage. And don’t get me started on my opinion of bikers and cab drivers. Or people who honk just for the heck of it. But I digress.
Anyway, I was telling a friend about my extreme impatience and general hatred of the world that I feel every time I get behind the wheel. She in turn decided that I don’t in fact hate humanity, but am simply reacting to my environment. Could’ve fooled me, because I see plenty of taxis on the NYC streets and I’m pretty sure I hate them. Then again, I don’t necessarily count taxi drivers as humanity. They are some special demonic spawn sent to torment everybody else. And, if left to their own devices, probably to kill us all. I’m sure of it. But I digress. Again.
Joking aside, I don’t necessarily say all those things (except sometimes) and I don’t hate humanity. Or even cab drivers (except sometimes). But I do definitely notice some impatience. Is it from me? Is it reaction to my environment? I don’t know. But either way it’s not really ok, is it? Of course not.
Don’t get me wrong. It’s common. Acceptable. Expected, even. But not for me. Not if I’m living by the law of love. Sometimes I do wonder if mankind would still have been given salvation if Jesus were surrounded by taxi drivers. But something tells me that God’s grace is bigger than that, yes it would’ve been given to us, and Jesus’ reaction to being cut off and nearly run off the road would be much more polite.
SO, after doing some impatient soul-searching to go with my currently impatient soul, I decided that I was not going to stoop to the world’s standards for acceptable driving attitudes (ie pretty terrible ones). Instead, I am going to reach my attitude up to God’s standards. Stooping is bad for the back anyway. Much healthier to reach up.
So I had this plan in mind. Then I was praying with a friend and she said “Jesus we thank you that you give us joy in the face of the enemy, because when met with joy he doesn’t know what to do.” That clinched it. I was going to meet my road rage with joy. Instead of screaming and grumbling, and saying who-knows-what to the masses of people who seemed to have developed New Yorker amnesia (which basically consists of forgetting what a moving vehicle looks like – I blame the pollution), I was going to meet every near-death experience with a chuckle. A smile. A blessing or prayer for that person even. And then I was going to move on.
I put the plan into action this week. Some days I’ve remembered. Others I’ve haven’t. Sometimes I’ve remembered after the fact and what comes out of my mouth is something like “My-car-is-SOLID-and-no-matter-how-badly-you-want-in-my-lane-no-you-can’t-drive-THROUGH me….be blessed though”. It’s a work in progress. Ultimately it will involve abiding in His love for others, and having my heart be so united with His that my very instincts and reactions are one with His. I’m not even close to being there. I’m closer to the opposite extreme than the Jesus extreme. All I know is, with baby steps, I’m curbing the habit.
If you are trying to curb something, let me know. You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’ll pray for you. We’re in this together.