When you have a roadmap of all the things you need to take care of and your first stop throws the whole thing out of whack, what’s your first response? Thanks for joining me for Coffee Hour with Chicklit Power and Monday’s Mantra with Trench Classes United.
The other day I went by the drive-through ATM at my bank only to find it out of order. I pulled around to the other side of the building to park and use the walk-up ATM. One space over was another car with a lady sitting in it talking on the phone. As I got out of my car, she jumped out and said, "Ma'am, I was next in line." Mind you, there we no other cars or people there. I motioned for her to go ahead.
I built time into my day to do errands so I was not in a rush. However, her tone and attitude did rub me the wrong way. I was tempted to snap at her and in my head I thought of a couple comebacks. Instead, I took a deep breath and reminded myself to be patient. In the meantime, her transaction was not working, and she was getting frustrated. She stepped back and said, "You can go ahead; I am having trouble getting this to accept my card."
"Ok. That’s frustrating!"
I could feel her frustration in her answer: "I can't wait here until 9 when the bank opens and this is my first time using this ATM. I have so much to do today, and I have to be in court. This is so upsetting!"
When I heard the word “court,” I immediately understood why she might be feeling anxious, and I told her so. We chatted for a couple minutes, and then we both went on our way.
I couldn't help but think how important it is to take a step back when we feel annoyed by someone else. We can't know what they may be facing that day. If I had snapped back, I would have made the situation worse, and would have missed an opportunity to really understand life from her side.
I feel this is a gift that God has given me through the trials I face. I have had to learn how to step back and not fire off a response to comments that are hurtful or rude. My first inclination used to be one of self-defense (I am still a work in progress mind you). Now I know I don't have to attend every argument I'm invited to.
I read two Bible verses this week that speak to this topic and are very relevant in the world we live in:
"Those who guard their lips preserve their lives, but those who speak rashly will come to ruin." Proverbs 13:3
"A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger." Proverbs 15:1
In a world that is in constant defense mode, filled with those who will say anything to anyone regardless of the consequences, I am called to be counter-culture. God help me.