Thursday, December 02, 2010

the wind reminds me

it was an unusually windy day. the wind had come out of no where, and was suddenly whipping everything in it's path. i was driving to the post office and i could feel the car swaying, i was driving against the forceful winds, watching flags and trees hold on for dear life.

at the post office, i parked and gathered my mailings before getting out of the car. i noticed the lady sitting in her car parked in the spot next to mine. we exchanged smiles. i tucked my envelopes in my purse, deep down, and braced for the wind. i had to push really hard to get my car door open, but still hold on to it carefully so that it didn't fly off it's hinges. it felt like it could.

i went around the car to get the baby out, sighing in relief at the brief blockage from the insane wind. i opened the baby's car door, carefully, and propped it with my leg while i reached for the baby. in that split second, an evil gust of wind whipped in between my car and the lady's next to me, blowing my open car door SMACK into the side of her car.

oh no.

i grabbed the door away from the wind's force, apologizing out loud. i made eye contact with the lady again. this time i noticed she was nursing her baby.
oh no.

she mouthed something nasty to me, waving her hands. she gave me a scowl. "i am soooo sorry," i pleaded, my baby in my arms, as she set hers in the carseat. "it was an accident! the wind!" she rolled her eyes angrily, shaking her head in disbelief, eyebrows furrowed. she didn't believe me. she didn't care that it was an accident. the wind didn't let up. the wind didn't care, either.

what i needed was mercy. compassion or forbearance shown to an offender. i needed her to feel the power of the wind, to look at me-a fellow Mommy- with compassion, to realize that i'm just trying to run errands with my baby, just like she is. i needed her to see that there was no damage done to either of our cars, be thankful, and forgiving. i needed her to smile and laugh and say "crazy wind, huh?"

what i wanted was fruit. love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. i wanted her to know in her heart that i wouldn't have let that happen on purpose. i wanted the situation to resolve with peaceful smiles, with "have a good day," and a look of understanding.

she didn't have mercy. the situation didn't end peacefully.

the truth is, i felt so horrible about what happened that i put my baby back in his carseat- this time by climbing in back from the front seat so that i didn't have to open the door on her side again. i faced forward and put my head down on the steering wheel. i could still feel her darting daggers at me with her eyes. i could feel my face burning, bright red. guilt. embarrassment. regretful. ashamed. i prayed out loud. BigGirl was sitting in the back seat the whole time, watching this unfold. i asked her to agree with me in prayer. i cried. and then i left the post office with my envelopes still stampless in my purse.

every windy day since then, i remember this. i remember what i needed and wanted from that lady, a stranger. on windy days, i tend to have more mercy. on windy days, the fruits of the spirit dance around in my head. wind is uncontrollable. but our attitudes, our reactions, are controllable. this is how the wind reminds me. if someone's car door accidentally dings mine on a windy day, i pray that i am the kind of stranger that shows mercy, love, kindness, and self-control. and i pray for the stranger parked next to me on an unusually windy day.

Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. 
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. 
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.

-Matthew 5:7-9

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, 
kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
-Galatians 5:22

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