Wednesday, January 18, 2012

People driving your crazy? Seek first to understand.

I could see I ticked off a neighbor as he mouthed displeasure while I was passing by him in my car, driving down the hill.  I could easily understand his frustration, since I had been driving partially in his lane.  Coming up the hill what he couldn't see however was that  I had just passed a pedestrian and given her wide birth, and had not yet pulled fully back into my lane.

Countless times have I been in my neighbor's shoes, upset with drivers who I think are going too fast, too slow or perhaps driving indecisively.  What I don't know is if they may just be learning to drive, perhaps elderly, lost, or may even have a vehicle that is need of repair.  Sometimes it is clearly apparent when someone needs to drive slowly, like the sedan I was recently behind, who turned ever so slowly around a corner, with a mattress and box spring roped on top. Often, however, there are no immediate visual clues that help us to understand the annoying habits of other drivers.

My impatience with drivers was painfully made aware to me about 14 years ago when our daughter was still very young.  We were going out for lunch and a man with a walker was moving slowly in the line ahead of us.  Our daughter determinedly told the older gentleman "move it out buster".   Thankfully he seemed just as understanding as I was embarrassed.

In addition to driving less frequently I am also working to slow down in passing judgement on the actions others.  The Prayer of St. Francis helps redirect my impatience....

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love.
Where there is injury, pardon.
Where there is doubt, faith.
Where there is despair, hope.
Where there is darkness, light.
Where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master,
grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled, as to console;
to be understood, as to understand;
to be loved, as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive.
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.

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