Saturday, May 21, 2011

on line-cutters, or more walking in love

So today I was out with the kids, and while lining up to buy them something to drink, this lady – with her kid – cuts in front of me and just orders her stuff. Well I’m sorry to say I didn’t just cheerfully shrug it off, but instead went through this whole little silent pantomime of, “Hey - what the heck - don’t you have any manners - is this how you teach your kid basic courtesy - and you, Miss Service Person, why don’t you ask who came first - what is wrong with these people”.

It was in fact just a couple of days ago that the exact same thing happened to me at another place. The very fact that these people arrived after me, and positioned themselves right next to me, seems to suggest that they could, in fact, see me, and even make the mental connection that I was there first.

I suppose getting cut while waiting in line is like this little version of being taken advantage of. We feel we are being treated discourteously, indifferently, without respect. And it’s amazing how strongly and quickly we react to the rudeness, the stupidity, indeed, the sheer injustice, of it all. I feel as outraged as one who has never been rude or stupid to anyone, about anything, in my entire life.

Of course, it takes a certain kind of person to cut a line and bulldoze one’s way through, and then stand there in apparently thick-skinned, uncaring oblivion while the person they cut looks on in disbelief.

Well, that’s them. Who knows what’s going on in their little worlds, why they are the way they are, why they behave the way they do. But as for me – I should have known better.

I’m not proud of the fact that I felt irritated. Even though it was all in my head, someone knew, and of course that someone was the All-Seeing Eye – God.

I prayed about it of course, and God brought this beautiful Scripture to mind:

If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonour others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails (1 Corinthians 13:1-8).

True, it’s important that my kids see me having decent manners in public, nicely waiting in line, holding the door open, saying “please” and “thank you”, all that sort of thing. But I think it’s just as important, if not more so, that they see me habitually walking in love – giving way, letting go, being patient and forgiving, and always at peace.

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