This week, I had a lesson in extending grace and, the funny thing is, the person on the receiving end has no idea and most likely never will. But, that’s okay. I don’t extend grace because of who knows or doesn’t know, really, I do it because God gives me abundant grace consistently and I, in turn, have turn that back to giving grace. I know it’s right. I know it’s what I’m supposed to do. I know all the good stuff. But, as flawed and human as I am, sometimes I just don’t want to. I never said I wasn’t “hard headed”, as we say down south, y’all. But, even when I just don’t want to do something initially, when it’s right and I do it out of obedience, it just feels…right.
On Wednesday of this week, the girls and I had a pretty busy day. Not bad busy, just “it’s the last day before school starts after break and we need to GET STUFF DONE” busy. Mariana had dance rehearsal late morning until mid-afternoon, so Macey and I used that time to hit the mall and grocery store. As soon as Mariana was done with dance, we had to pretty much beat it to the hair salon to get both girls an overdue trim. We left the studio a little past the time we needed to in order to the salon a little early as we were supposed to for paperwork. There was just no earthly way “early” was happening. Basically, I was trying to get there and knock out another errand in a timely manner. There was a car in front of us in the left lane that, not even kidding, wasn’t even going the speed limit. Did I mention this car was in the left lane?! (Pet peeve, right there.) I notice that I’m kind of tailgating the guy and that’s as uncool as not going the speed limit in the left lane, so I go around to pass him and get on with the show. What does he do? He leans across and gives me that infamous symbol that doesn’t really say “You’re Number One”, if you know what I mean. What?! Did I just see that? Did he just ROAD RAGE me over a pass when he was the one driving too slow for the left lane while my kids are in the car and…just…ARGH!! So, I just decided I was going to ignore it, drive on, get the girls to the salon and let them enjoy their pampering time. I get to the turn lane and, sure enough, the guy comes up on the right of me and makes this huge point to look at me with, I’m being kind here, the stink eye. Is this guy for real? I didn’t even really look, I just watched for the traffic signal to turn (hurry up, light), talked the girls, and basically just didn’t engage. Even still, I couldn’t help but wonder what in the world this guy’s deal really was, you know? I mean, really. All that over a pass? So not cool.
I guess I’m fairly sheltered, to some degree, because I really can’t recall being flipped off in traffic often at all. I’m not a perfect driver, I make mistakes sometimes like we all do, but usually people aren’t THAT nasty. So, I was floored that this happened over me passing someone. I chewed on it more than I probably should have and then it hit me — I only knew my side. I didn’t know if he just had a really bad day, or if he’s going through a tough time in his life, or if he’s got some sort of issues…or WHAT? I had no clue. All I knew was I was trying to get to an appointment, decided to pass a slowly moving car, and encountered a really rude gesture in the process. But, I didn’t know what got HIM to that spot. The fact is, it more than likely had nothing to do with me. After all, how could it? He doesn’t know me. All he knows about me was whatever anger he felt, for whatever reason, in that moment. And, he reacted. Thankfully, I did not react, and my girls didn’t see the ugly gesture. I’m still thankful for that. No, they don’t live under a rock, they’ve unfortunately seen and heard “stuff”, but why should they have to, right? Anyway. I decided this guy needed me to extend some grace his way. I confess, I didn’t really want to be all “Hey, it’s all good” about the whole thing – not at first. But, facts are facts. One, I’m supposed to extend grace every time. Two, he didn’t really hurt anything. It wasn’t nice, but no one got hurt. And, three, like I said, I don’t know his story. What I want MY story to reflect is grace. I had to decide to forgive his actions even though I know he’ll never know. And, that’s alright too. As long as I’m not holding onto any resentments about it all, that’s what matters. Forgive and let it go.
I don’t share all of this to pat myself on the back. I am not worthy of that. I mean, y’all read me confess above that I didn’t initially even really WANT extend forgiveness. (Gulp) I’m flawed, no doubt, and I can be stubborn, but I also know that if I am to receive, I must extend. That’s why I shared this story. God’s grace? It’s constant. It defies explanation and quantification. To use a phrase from one of my old favorite hymns, it’s AMAZING. As much as I appreciate the way God pours His grace out on me, what I know I’m supposed to do is offer that to others. And…I will. Even when I don’t want to right off the bat.
Grateful for grace,