Grace on the road
A few weeks ago, I hopped in my car at the end of a full day, turned out of the church parking lot, and headed north on Brady Street to make my way home. Most days, I’m in no particular hurry. I’ve always enjoyed those few evening moments in the car as a time to catch my breath and quiet my mind just a bit.
But on this particular day, I hadn’t traveled more than a few blocks before I found myself behind a slow moving car that seemed to be in even less of a hurry than I was. Perhaps it was the events of the full day or my hangry stomach that was more than ready for dinner, but I was lacking patience to remain behind this sedan for too long. So I got set to maneuver to a different lane, only to have them start to shift as well. Without the use of their turn signal, we were now both in the same situation, just one lane to the right. But now with at least one of us a bit more aggravated.
My patience was wearing quite thin, and I’ll admit that I was nearly ready to lay on the horn (perhaps a little too eager to do so) when I noticed a yellow sticker on the side of the car that said “Student Driver.” Upon a closer look, I could see a young teenager with hands clutched on the wheel.
Having realized this was likely a fairly inexperienced driver, still learning both the responsibility and skill of safe driving, I immediately found myself much calmer. I quickly thought back to my own days of fearfully sitting behind the wheel of a car for the first time, equal parts terrified and thrilled at the new possibilities. So I gave the car a little extra room and eventually made my way into another lane, smiling as I passed by, seeing the instructor in the passenger seat offering guidance.
As I finished my commute, I thought about how quickly I offered some semblance of grace to the driver once I understood their particular circumstances. How willing I was to be a bit more patient, and give a little extra room on the road, once I discovered more of the story. I wondered to myself if I would’ve been just as understanding if the sign on the car hadn’t been there. The answer: probably not.
It was a brief but humbling reminder to me that we simply don’t know what stories and experiences any of us are carrying around at any given time. What “signs” would be attached to each of us that would signal the need for a little extra understanding or compassion as we travel through our days.
I guess that might be why Paul says that, first and foremost, love is patient and kind. Or why the fruits of the Spirit (peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, etc.) are the sorts of things that are most often needed when interacting with others. Come to think of it, Jesus seemed to approach nearly every interaction with others, even those who surely must’ve made him a bit aggravated, with a hefty dose of compassion and understanding.
It seems to me that we might imagine every person walking (or driving) near us wearing their own sign: “Child of God.” Reminding us that, no matter the circumstances, every person is worthy of our care and patience.
13 Comments on “Grace on the road”
Great reminder Katy to offer more grace, kindness and patience even when we may be in a hurry or not having a good day.
Katy what a great reminder for all of us. We are all an inexperienced driver sometime in life. Thank you
Katy…perfect timing. Sharing! Love ya girl
Thanks Katy, I also so enjoyed reading this and what a great message. Strive to be more patient and kind, always a great reminder.
Pastor Katy, Thank you for this article. It was exactly what I needed to read and meditate on this morning. Working with young children every day, it is easy to forget that their personal and unique stories are a part of their learning process. Thank you! 🙂
Beautifully put…. and aren’t we all “student drivers” as we travel on the highway of life? We are always slowly maneuvering through life’s new and ever more complex experiences, as God sits beside us offering guidance. Just as a teenage driver seems to need more patience and space and grace as he learns to master an automobile, we all need patience and space and grace as we learn to master life.
Very good perspective, Katie. Thank you for the reminder! Babs
Beautiful reminder. I start each day with good intentions but find I need to hit the refresh button on occasion. I usually feel better once I do.
This brings to me an old song
Less of Me
Glen Campbell, Bobbie Gentry
Let me be a little kinder
Let me be a little blinder
To the faults of those about me
Let me praise a little more
Let me be when I am weary
Just a little bit more cheery
Think a little more of others
And a little less of me
Let me be a little braver
When temptation bids me waver
Let me strive a little harder
To be all that I should be
Let me be a little meeker
With the brother that is weaker
Let me think more of my neighbor
And a little less of me
Thanks, Pastor Katy!
I love the song. Thanks, Barb.
Why do we all need to be reminded on a daily bases that we need to be more kind, compassionate, and understanding the needs of others? You have reminded me of this.
I do so enjoy your perspective on the different aspects of our lives. Your article reminded me of listening to Paul Harvey’s “The Rest of the Story” for years on my drive home from the office. We all need to take time to understand “The Rest of the story”.
I so enjoyed reading your message today, “Grace on the Road.” It was a good reminder to all of us on peace, patience, and kindness.