By: Ginny Luedeman
October 13. 2003
Driving into the Wal-Mart parking lot recently, deep in
conversation with my daughter, I inadvertently cut off a woman and
her son who were trying to walk in front of my car.
The woman got so angry she pounded on the rear end of my car as I passed by. When I heard the loud band, the cowgirl in me sprang to life. Even though I was in the wrong and immediately sorry for my thoughtlessness, everything changed when she hit my vehicle. I was ready to jump out and deck her. Thank goodness I was slowed down by having to hunt for a place to park.
Still, I marched into the store--a grandma with a mission. I hadn’t had a good look at the woman, but I had caught a glimpse of her son’s yellow jacket. I was going to find her and tell her a thing or two!
Then I asked myself, “Tell her what? To keep her hands off my car? Or that I was sorry?” Would I tell her that my thoughtlessness was an accident, so she should forgive me? As far as she knew, I was just selfish and had threatened her and her child with my silver van.
As I argued with myself from aisle to aisle, my balloon of indignation began to deflate. Finally, I became calm enough to realize that I needed to hear what God had to say in all this.
I’m not going to go through this life without making mistakes. Neither will this woman. If I insult or hurt someone, I can remember that God, who is Love, will never stop loving and caring for the one I hurt, or for me. No one’s spiritual nature can really be altered by outward changes.
Last month on the second anniversary of the 9/11 tragedy, I had been touched by a television interview with a woman who had lost her husband in one of the terrorist attacks. The woman looked straight into the camera and declared that nothing could separate her from her husband. She was talking about his unchanged, spiritual identity. She obviously knew that his life hadn’t ended. She implied that it continued because her husband was not mortal and material. And she obviously loved him still.
When I thought back to that widow’s words, I know that love--not anger--was what I wanted. And I know that since God was the sum total of all that is good, and that because His children are the expression of this unchanging goodness, He was in charge of providing all of us with love and peace. My part was to tune in more carefully to the presence of God’s love by dropping my selfish motives, opinions, and feelings of condemnation, so that I could listen for the loving thoughts our Father is always giving.
God is constantly available to guide us to the next step in discovering how to live a better life. A statement from Science and Health comforts me when I feel burdened by my own weakness or loss of patience in dealing with my family, or in this case with a stranger. It reads in part: “…to all mankind and in every hour, divine Love supplies all good” (p. 494).
My hours and that woman’s hours, and minutes, belonged to God And my angry reaction couldn’t mess up God’s care either for her or for me. It became clear that it was time for me to become more aware of God’s unchanging love.
Thought by thought, aisle by aisle, love won the battle between me and myself, until by the time I was ready to check out, I had decided to apologize. But which of the three mothers with young boys in yellow jackets that I had seen in the store was the pair from the parking lot? Unable to figure that out, I spoke no words. But I left the store humbled, with my purchase in a blue plastic bag and more love in my heart.
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