Why is it so difficult to share with others when life gets hard? Why do we pull away, almost in shame that our lives aren’t going the way we hoped they would? Why do we fear other’s facial expressions, noises they make with their mouths (ooh, ahhh or hum??) or even worse, their actual opinions?
Just because they have a different opinion, doesn’t make them right!
I’m reminded of when we first came to Costa Rica. Paul and I could not afford a family sized vehicle, which meant I became the family chauffeur. The kids were attending private school at that time and Curly Cook was let out of school earlier than the other 3 children. So that meant I got to drive to school 3 times a day, plus I got to take Paul to and from work AND drive early morning carpool each morning at 4:30 am. One day I sat down to add up how much time I spent driving in a day and it came to 2 hours and 30 minutes . . . that is 150 minutes folks!!
What would you like do with 150 minutes each day? Would you CHOOSE driving?
On top of the non-stop driving, I was DRIVING IN COSTA RICA!!! I literally felt like I was driving on a Destruction Derby Race Track meets Wendi at a Bumper Cars Amusement Park ride. I HATED bumping into cars at Lagoon (an Amusement Park in Utah), so you can imagine me FREAKING out having cars SO CLOSE to me in Costa Rica. But that wasn’t the worst part of it all. . . THE HONKING! That was THE WORST PART!
I would get so upset being honked at, on a DAILY basis folks (come on, hear me out), that I would say, “You can beep all you want but . . .!”
For WHATEVER reason the kids would get REALLY upset with me for saying this. So much so that my kids would ask me, “Mom? Would Jesus say that?”
In my head, I honestly thought, “YES! I think He would.” I actually still do because I wasn’t meaning to curse at the ‘honker’ or wish them a bad day. I was simply stating that they can beep all they want but I’m not going to move the way they want me to. I am going to do what I feel is best for me and they will have to deal with it. Now, I was thinking about them too, and I did hurt for their frustration. But over time I came to find out that driving in Costa Rica, with all the beeping, driving really close and really fast, cutting people off, not giving eye contact, and pushing you off the road is just a game to them. It isn’t personal and it is something they let go of, as they step out of the car. So I didn’t feel bad standing my ground.
But that didn’t stop my kids from chiding me.
So, one day when I was all alone with Curly Cook, I had a man cut me off, then get behind me and beep. I rolled my eyes at him because he was driving so erratic and impatient . . . enough that I felt like he wanted me to pull over and let him pass. I thought about doing so but there wasn’t any safe place to pull over. Plus I didn’t want to teach him that with all of his beeping and honking that people would actually move over for him. So I looked back at him and said out loud, “Well, you can beep all you want . . .” And CURLY COOK scolded me! She said, “Now MOM! You need to STOP saying that. Would Jesus say that?”
I took a DEEP breath and with all the honesty in my heart, I told her, “Why yes, sweetheart, I do believe Jesus would say something like this but maybe He would say instead. . . ‘Sir, just because you are honking your horn at me, does not mean that I am doing anything wrong.'”
She stared at me a moment and then said, “Why don’t you just say that Mom?” with a ‘duh’ look on her face. I realized that I don’t say those words because they take thoughtfulness, consideration and energy that I do not want to sacrifice . . . but they are so helpful and so very needed. So now when I drive and someone starts to beep at me, Curly Cook will say to everyone in the car “Just because their beeping at Mom, doesn’t mean she is doing anything wrong” and the family laughs or at least there is a feeling that all is well in the world.
I have learned to love this little story because it has helped me when my life seems to cut off other people’s plans, hopes, opinions, or expectations. I am very grateful that when people “honk” I can still keep my eyes on the road and steer my car towards the destination that I feel I should be headed. It doesn’t mean there won’t be pot holes in the road (boy are they the worst here) or a flash rain storm to drive through (it is like driving in a drive-thru car wash) or grid-lock traffic (seriously, and I thought Utah had terrible traffic at rush hour – 30 minutes to Salt Lake City is a breeze!) But it does mean that I can stay calm, stick to my destination, not panic and TRY to enjoy the ride because there isn’t any better day than like the present!
I’ll try to blog about our current life status tomorrow.
Thanks for listening,