April 18, 2007
From: Margi, wife, mom, attorney, professor. Married to a pastor.
To: All the Gals in our Church
Re: Some Morons I Ran Into
As a parting shot, I called out, “You morons!” Then I hustled my daughter to her ballet class.
The morons in question were total strangers. The event was me rushing to get Josie to ballet on time. The occasion was them stealing my parking spot. The bottom line was how well I represented Jesus Christ. Not very well, I’m afraid.
Downtown Redding is confusing. Josie’s ballet school is downtown. One thing you should know about me is that I am extremely time conscious, or at least I was until I had children. I now understand why people are late.
Well, anyway, on this particular day I was desperately trying to be on time to take Josie to her first ballet class. I drove around the downtown streets, trying to find a parking spot, all the time watching the clock.
It was now getting very close to 3:00 p.m., the start of the class. The panic started setting in. Oh no, we’re going to be late! Finally, I saw a spot. I would have to parallel park. No problem, I used to live in downtown Chicago, so trust me, I know how to parallel park. I pulled slightly ahead of the spot and turned on my turn signal. I waited for traffic to clear so I could back into the spot.
Like this. . .
Suddenly a car pulled up behind me and partially fronted into the spot – ineptly I might add. As the woman behind the wheel tried to maneuver her car into the spot, I rolled down my window and said while pointing, “I’m parking there.”
Her husband, riding shotgun, rolled down his window and yelled back, “you’re blocking traffic!” Pointing more emphatically and speaking more loudly (okay, yelling back) I responded, “I’m parking there!” Again the man bellowed, “You’re blocking traffic!” I relented when I noted another spot about a 1/4 of a block away.
I zoomed into the spot and rushed Josie and JD out of the car. We starting running the block and a half back to the ballet school. In doing so we had to pass the original parking spot. To my complete satisfaction the woman was now standing on the sidewalk while her belicose husband was now manuevering the car into the spot.
I am a pastor’s wife and, as such, I always say only highly spiritual, loving things. In that spirit, as I walked by, I said to the nemesis couple, “I was trying to park there! Don’t you know how to parallel park?! “ I then finished my loving commentary with “You morons!” ( I could have chosen a worse description!)
As I trotted away with kids in tow, I felt justified and satisfied. I sure showed them!
Imagine my horror when who walks into the ballet class but that same couple and their darling little daughter and infant son. Yes, the morons themselves.
You would think this would be enough for me to shut my mouth and attempt to slink away unnoticed. Oh no. I saw this as an opportunity to explain parking etiquette to the obviously uninformed. I don’t really recall the conversation at that point but it was something about being rude and yelling and stuff like that. Again, feeling like I had gotten the upper hand in that exchange, I kissed Josie, sent her to class and escaped with JD in tow.
I then started thinking. I believe “then” would be the operative word here. What if they went to our church? What if other people watching the exchange went to our church? What would they think of me? I felt sick.
The ensuing thought was, “Even worse, what if they don’t know Christ and what if they don’t even go to church?” How could I ever invite them to our church after that pathetic display of loving Christian spirit?
What a shame that my testimony was hindered by my thoughtless actions – all over a silly parking space! What was the big deal in moving to another space? They were in the wrong, but so what? Did my rightness make it any more appropriate to act the way I did? I was embarrassed and humbled.
When I went to pick up Josie I had to swallow my pride and ask forgiveness of that couple. It was difficult to do but necessary. After that, each time I saw that couple at ballet class I always felt regret at how I had handled the situation.
Another realization also hit me. What if I had never apologized because they didn’t show up to the same ballet class and I had gone on my merry way, feeling all righteous and justified? The same underlying question still applied: What if they did not know Jesus as their Savior and I was their example of a follower of Christ?
I know we all make mistakes. I know there will be times when we blow it and say or do something that isn’t reflective of a loving Christian spirit. But, I want us to be more aware as we go through our day that what we say and do really may have an effect on those around us – especially those who don’t know Christ.
Evaluate yourself. Can you think of some instances where you might have reacted differently if that person were, let’s say, the pastor or his wife; or a fellow member of the church; or someone who you personally know?
We are supposed to be the light to the world. This doesn’t mean to just to go and preach AT the lost. It is to show the world that Christ does make a difference in attitude and application. I have non-saved friends who find Christians hypocritical and nasty. How sad. Is that how we want non-Christians to see us? Do you find yourself being rude to someone; saying uncomplimentary things about someone (gossiping); being impatient?
Take this next week and see just how good you are at applying those Godly principles you hear about on Sunday. Don’t be the stumbling block to Jesus. Be a light to those around you. You never know just how dark their world is.