Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Holy Week Begins

Yesterday I arrived at Our Fine School a little early, a bag of fresh library books in the seat beside me. I parked in my usual spot at the back of the school, forgoing as always the pick-up line out front, and rolled down the windows. It was a beautiful day, 75 degrees with a nice breeze, and I had twenty minutes to read. Bliss.

Until the SUV pulled into the spot next to me. For reasons I couldn't fathom, the driver left her engine running, filling the air with exhaust. The day wasn't hot enough to justify sitting in an air conditioned car, but apparently that was what the woman in the car next to me intended to do for the next twenty minutes.

Now, I'm not a confrontational person as a rule, but I can't tell you how tempted I was to get out of my car, go around to the driver's side of the SUV, tap on the window, and make an impassioned plea for the environment. I would  bemoan our children's futures, which are already looking dim and will only grow dimmer as the carbon count rises. I heard myself speaking with righteous indignation, with anger, with only the tiniest bit of impulse control. I thought about reaching into my neighbor's car and shaking her by the shoulders, yelling, "For the love of all that's good and true, turn off your engine!"

Instead, I said a prayer.

I prayed to Jesus to help me love my neighbor. I prayed that He might be so kind as to give my neighbor a clue, and maybe I modified the word "clue" with an angry-ish adjective. I prayed that I might be a touch less judgmental, and I prayed that all peoples of the earth would come together before we totally destroyed the environment, and stop running our engines just to keep the air conditioner running. I prayed to get over myself.

And a minute later, my neighbor turned off her engine. She didn't get out of her car; in fact, she was still in her car ten minutes later when I got out of mine to go pick up Will.

Now of course we can't say for sure what made that woman decide to turn off her car. Maybe it had finally gotten cool enough for her. Maybe she was even a little bit cold. Maybe she'd been on the phone when she pulled into the parking spot and hadn't even realized the car was still running until she hung up. "Oh, my goodness!" she might have exclaimed to herself. "I can't believe I've been harming the environment for the last five minutes!"

Of course I think Jesus turned off her engine. I don't know how He did it, but I'm pretty sure He did, and after He did it the exhaust cleared and I was free to love my neighbor, and I carried that love with me out into the world for the rest of the day.


magsmcc said...

Well, if this is how Holy week begins we'll all be on the edge of our keyboards for the next instalments! And they say there is no God... We have holy friends who were tormented at night by the incessant barking of their neighbour's ill-treated dog. They were on the verge of complaining to the Dog People, when Tom decided they should pray. So they did. Next day the dog was dead. I'm so glad this didn't happen to your person!

Gumbo Lily said...

Most of us wouldn't think to pray. I'm glad you did.

Happy Holy Week, Frances.


Angela said...

Well now. I was so thrilled you had prayed- and then I read Mags' comment, and almost fell off my keyboard [I DO like the idea of being 'on the edge of our keyboards']

What always gets me is how SURPRISED we are when our prayers get answered. And we KNOW we should NOT be surprised, cos we have a truly awesome God. But that just shows what feeble little brains we have.

So good to know that Jesus is with you, sister. May your Holy Week be truly blessed x x x

Shirley in Washington said...

What a wonderful, pratical beginning to Holy Week for you! I love your tale of faith - "God moves in a mysterious way...". May Holy Week continue to amaze you, Frances.

The dB family said...

I'm with you all the way! Who are we to know how God moves? Have a blessed Holy Week.


wayside wanderer said...

Encouraging post, Frances. Wishing you a blessed Holy Week.

Tracy said...

I laughed at Mags' comment. So glad you didn't have to deal with that as the solution to your problem. And you put me to shame. I've been mumbling and grumbling about the hoards of parents who refuse to go home after school and can be found watching their children play well after 4pm....well after staff are allowed to finish for the day. I should just pray.

Are you feeling better after having been unwell about the time I began my adventure with ill health? I've been praying that you would be back to full strength.

Susan said...

How do you make me giggle and contemplate deep thoughts all in the same post? You are a powerful writer, Lefty.

Please, only pray good thoughts for me and those I love. Who knows what would happen if you unleashed a string of thoughts that were less than charitable.

Pom Pom said...

Hi Frances!
Mags and you make me laugh!
You remind me of the school pick ups when I was driving the party wagon and all the other moms were driving sleek gas hog SUVs.

victoria said...

I agree, you're always so funny and thought provoking at the same time when you are working on being tolerant!