Yelling . . . screaming . . . angry to the max! Yep, that’s what was happening in my car for many years—until I realized the only one being impacted by my outbursts was me, sometimes for hours or days after the “incident” I would experience the effects of this stress, mentally and physically.
One of the worst incidents was when a van went straight ahead in the right-turn-only lane on Race street by Wendy’s and sped up and cut in front of me so close I had to hit my brakes to keep from hitting it AND there were several kids inside! I hadn’t noticed this lady until she cut over right in front of me, so at first I was startled . . . then I was struck with the fact she almost caused damage to me . . . and then I was angry because she was responsible for those kids in her van. My flesh responses welled up inside of me SO intense, fueled by all those thoughts running through my head and I decided to stay right with that van until it reached a destination. What I really wanted to do was get in the woman’s face and scream at her, let her know she had no right to put me at risk of vehicle damage or injury and those kids . . . WOW! what was she thinking???
The van pulled into the WalGreen’s parking lot and I stopped at the entrance to watch as she pulled into a parking place and got out looking as if she had no idea what she had risked to get ahead by one spot in the line of traffic and maybe get to the parking place 20 seconds faster than if she had gotten in the correct lane and taken her turn as everyone else did! I stared at her with the meanest look I could muster and rolled down my window with the idea of speaking to this “person,” to maybe even do the “citizen’s arrest” thing for the “scared straight” impact!
As I thought through my options, I realized that it probably would have no impact on this woman or her future behavior, so I slowly moved forward and out of the parking lot. As I drove by her, it seemed like there was a little look of anxiety in her eyes, maybe because she knew I was angry, maybe because she had some situation in her own life that was not good, maybe because she figured this “crazy” who had followed her here was going to run over her. In any event, God used this incident to give me a new “coping skill.”
If you look in my car, you will see on the console a stuffed prayer lamb (Beth-le-lamb) and a St. Patrick’s Day small creature who laughs when you squeeze his tummy and who serves as the reminder of my “road rage blessing.” When some driver in the throes of that very common “self-centered, dangerous me-first” mentality that causes so many accidents invades my space, I grab my creature, shaking it at the offender and shout however loudly I need to: “GOD BLESS YOU as only HE can!” Squeezing the creature’s tummy, I feel my intensity lessening and my mind returning to the Truth that only God can make any difference in a person’s heart–it derails me from that track of negative, angry thoughts and reminds me He calls me to think on a different list of thoughts . . . ones that reflect His nature: true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, of good report, excellent, worthy of praise . . . and sanity returns to my mind, and peace starts building in my heart, and I take a deep breath to remind me of the flow of God’s Grace through my entire being, through the entire world . . . and, yes, even for that woman!