Something strange happened to me last week. Or, more accurately, I did something strange last week. I was going to the bank and a lady blew through a stop sign and almost broadsided me. As she passed, I saw she had two little boys in the back seat, about the same age as my boys. I pulled in to the bank and saw that the reason she was in such a hurry was to get to Starbucks. She got out of her car and went in to the shop, leaving her kids in the car. Something in me just snapped..... ugh. I turned around and went to Starbucks and confronted her. I didn't yell or curse or anything like that, but I wasn't nice. I basically told her she shouldn't leave her kids in the car alone and that she should be more careful driving with her kids in the car. I still can't believe I did it, as I really HATE confrontation and try to avoid it at most cost.
Of course, I've been thinking about this a lot, as it was SUCH an unusual thing for me to do. I can only hope that somehow that incident made her a little more aware, although she may have completely forgotten about it by now. I'm not saying I regret it, but the whole thing has me examining my own actions quite a bit. I keep thinking about the line from my March 22 post "I am broken and quick to judge" and how that is even more real to me now. Sure, maybe that lady was just an overly pre-occupied mom who should be paying better attention. But possibly she was late to take her kid to a medical appointment or late to meet a divorce lawyer or late to visit an ailing parent and her kids had kept her awake all night and she really needed that caffeine. I'm not caught up in the 'what if's' or 'maybe's.' I will probably never know what was going on for her that day. (Although I do have this nagging feeling that our paths will cross again... like she's the sister of someone I know or something crazy like that.) Maybe nothing. It doesn't matter. What I keep thinking about is that my first thought was not that she could need some compassion. My first reaction to her was that she needed to be put in her place. Is that love? I don't really think I need to write an answer for that.
So where does that leave me? It's not wrong to confront people. It's not wrong to be concerned about safety, especially when kids are involved. Honestly, I don't really think that lady is bad mom. She was driving a safe, family car and her kids were strapped securely into the appropriate car seats. She probably takes great care to ensure things are as safe for her children as possible and simply made a mistake that day. My lesson here is that I need to be more careful of my motivations. There is a great deal of difference between showing concern by offering a word of caution, and being so indignant over someone's carelessness that you feel it necessary to put them in their place. I'd like to say that it's nice how it seems when you're learning about something there are lots of opportunities to delve even deeper into the subject, but that wouldn't be entirely true. It's uncomfortable and humbling. And this is getting really long and wordy so that's all I'm going to say about it for now.
Oh.... and because it seems I shouldn't post two posts in a row without a partial poem..... here are some lines from an old poem. I don't like the rest of it so I need to write a new beginning.
How harmonious and easeful
to stay where it seems safe.
But what is gained from lingering
where faith and doubt are mingling?