Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Parking Lot Confession

Last week Shell did a post on Pour Your Heart Out about how one small, simple, kind sentence really made her day (or motherhood in general).

Isn't that how it works?  Our words can be rich morsels.

Anyhow, I vowed I would say something kind last week... and not just so I would have something to brag about.

But you know what is weird, the second I decided to do it, I looked around and found no one deserved it.  -----> Judgmental Mom Confession

Okay, the friends I'm around always deserve it and I support them and their parenting efforts so they didn't seem like fair targets.  Being kind to those you love is easy.

On Thursday I had a different sort of opportunity.

I was  leaving a parking lot and someone cut me off.  Now, the line on "my" end of the parking lot was huge.  Getting cut off meant I was at the back of a GINORMOUS line.

I wanted to go home.
I wanted to see my family.
I might have cussed.
There's a good chance I yelled at the woman who cut me off--you know.  Just in case she could hear me in my car at the back of the line.

And then I did what any calm, rational, and loving person would do.

I threw my car in reverse, flipped around, and sped angrily to another exit.

My intent: Get in the line in the road that keeps people in the parking lot from getting out.  I was gonna show that woman!  I was gonna get on the road first, darn it!  I was going to cut off the cutter-offer!

My plan worked perfectly.

Well, almost.

There was that small still voice in my head, the one that even though it was quiet, somehow managed to be more convicting than the "Stupid Woman!  You won't beat me! I'll cut YOU off!" rampage happening in my self-thoughts.

The small voice said: "Choose My way."

That's it?  Choose My way?  That's what you've got for me God? But she cut ME off?  Didn't you see that?  Didn't you see how rude she was?  How selfish?  She made me angry!  She doesn't deserve my patience!"

"Nor did you deserve Mine."

Oops.

Grace. Unmerited favor.

It gets me all the time.

My car inched closer to the parking lot exit and there she was, waiting in her not very nice red sedan.  I looked at her behind that windshield. Older.  Tired. Waiting.  Suddenly my mad became His compassion.

Maybe she had a bad day.  Maybe she is sad or broken or lonely.  Maybe she cut me off because she is exhausted from working and going to school.

Maybe it had been a long time since someone had shown her a little grace.

So I told the justice and "right" seeking voices in my head (Yeah that's right lady, you cut me off but I'm gonna win!) to shut up and I let the distance between me and the white Jeep ahead of me get bigger and bigger.

And I waved her in.

What I think is our words--especially the dialogue we have in our head--matter.  And so do our actions.

I'm grateful for the parking lot incident.  It showed me places of my heart that are vengeful and self-seeking.  But it also showed me a capacity to be kind and to remember.

I'm where I am because of unmerited favor.  How can I not pass it on?


Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Redeeming the Day

Do I remember September 11?  Boy do I ever.

I'd never been glued to the TV like that before.  Never flipped from news channel to news channel dumbfounded, confused, and saddened by what I saw.

I'd never seen the country come together (momentarily) like that to buy flags, donate blood, and send money.

It was a life shaking time for me, for others, for this country.

And every year, we remember.  Memories now are burdened by politics and scandal but we remember.  We run Freedom 5Ks, donate blood and money, and send cookies to those in our service sectors.  It's all about redeeming the day.  About saying--you can break me down but you cannot stop me from rebuilding.

Last September 11 was another one of those days for me.  Bad timing, for sure.

No details but trust me, it was a day of destruction.  A day of tearing down.  A day of confusion and pain and ruin.

But I'm here a year later.  Still standing.  Still fighting.  Still reminding myself circumstances can tear me down but I will rebuild.

I will fight the good fight.  I will stand firm.  I will not be shaken.

I'm still here.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Not Technically Fall

It might not technically be fall but I don't care.

I got my fall stuff out.

I don't have a ton of fall stuff but what I have is now out.  Scarecrow sitting by a pumpkin.  A couple of wreathes.  These pumpkins I made with the kids what feels like eons ago (because Fall is a great time to recount with sadness how quickly things change ... like the weather or kids, for instance).

Pumpkin pie and apple crisp candles are burning.  The windows are open letting in those slightly cooler breezes.  Frank Sinatra is crooning over my iPod.

Summer ending is such sweet sorrow.  But at least I get to fall back on fall.

I love fall!

Bring on the boots, scarves, sweaters, hot drinks, corn mazes, and cool days.