Sometimes I forget who I am. And who I want to be. And I lose it.
Like the time when I recently carried my list, my umbrella, my budget envelopes, my two little kids, their favorite stuffed animals, water bottles for everyone…into the car for an afternoon of errands.I’d planned a stop at the local KFC which had a book/office store on the top level and a play area for the kids below. It was stop three of six on this small island of little stores and even littler parking spaces.
My car is small, though—perfect for these narrow roads crammed full of motorbikes and cement trucks. Into the parking spot I went, then out to unhook my kids from their car seats.
“Please move your car further in,” the parking guy said after I’d already unhooked everybody, and grabbed my bag full of stuffed animals, water bottles, etc. etc.
He had hit it. The nerve. My pet peeve. I hate moving my car. Especially after I’ve already squeezed it into a space and gotten my kids out of their car seats. Did he realize how bad his timing was? Where was he when I’d been trying to avoid hitting the line of motorbikes?
And so I gave it to him.
“It’s good enough,” I spat. “I’m not moving it.”
And I huffed away, the eyes of the onlookers—which are always on me—staring yet again...my kids watching too.
The kids played in the play area, I found some computer paper, and I finished my errands, managing to avoid running into someone’s car or knocking over someone’s bike—not an easy task.
But when the chaos of the day ended that night, I remembered.
Why exactly had I yelled at a man who works long hours in the hot sun with a menial job of motioning people into parking lots for a tiny salary? Why did I let myself become the rich, snobby, white American who thinks she knows better?
Certainly, he could’ve done things better. Telling me to move while the car was still running would have worked. And I really wanted to justify myself right there and leave it.
But how can I pray for opportunities to show God’s love to others and then run from them just because I think I’m right? Or because I’m tired? Or because I don’t think I have time to be patient?
And so I added it to my list of errands the next time I was out. And I parked my car, grabbed my kids and all their things and searched for the parking guy. I swallowed my pride and apologized. Without excuses.
And he just stared at me like he didn’t get it. And I had no idea what he thought or if it mattered or if he felt respected.
But, later when I got back into my car, he smiled big and waved at the kids.