I’d been waiting for a space to open up on a busy March weekend at the gas station. Finally, it looked like the van ahead of me would be pulling away. At the pump beside me a woman in a van was also waiting. Just as she was pulling into her slot, a driver coming from the other direction zipped up to the pump. It was quite obvious who was there first. But the second driver was persistent. Nudging her car closer and closer, until the first woman decided the best way to settle the question of who got to the pump first, was to back up. Little by little, the intruder crept forward. I watched the young driver jump out of her car to fill the tank. With an air of either guilt or innocence, she stared into the distance, avoiding the woman she had forced away.
I’m tempted to write her off as rude, indifferent, arrogant. The trouble is, I don’t know what was going on in the younger woman’s life. Was there a job to get to or someone in the hospital? Was she late in picking up a friend or had some urgent business? Or was she simply oblivious to how her actions impacted someone else?
While I don’t know what was going on in the young woman’s mind, what I do know is that there are times when I am not on my best behavior. Worried about a loved one, anxious about a situation or simply being tired can blind me to the world around me. Hurry makes me unaware of people I am pushing aside. Intent on what I need, I do not see the needs of others – or the reality, that they really were first in line. I’m reminded to leave the judging to God and to work on myself instead.
The apostle Paul tells us, “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility regard others as better than yourselves. Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others.” Philippians 2:3-4
Thanks for the reminder. I’m too quick to pass judgment and need to remind myself–often!–that I don’t know what motivates others. This gas station image will be helpful!
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I admit that the first thing that I thought of was the scene from Fried Green Tomatoes… Tawandai!
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