We took my son to Outback for his birthday (his request). The meal was excellent and I paid with my debit card (who carries cash anymore?).
I hurried to my truck to escape the cold, cranked it, and backed out. I started to pull into the exit drive when I was cut off by old, beat-up Honda. The driver, a man of another race, gestured to me but I couldn’t make it out. I thought he was telling me he had the right of way. In these circumstances, I assume the larger vehicle has the right of way. My Ford F-150 4×4 was larger than his Honda.
It’s amazing how fast my temper can flare. I’m a follower of Jesus and all, but right of way is my right. As a character in Fried Green Tomatoes said, “I’m old and I have insurance.” I was about to respond with my hand gesture, but I remember the church sticker on my rear window. I decided it was better to feel quietly righteous. With the speed of a super-computer, I built a negative, judgmental profile of the man.
The beat-up Honda man kept yelling at me and gesturing. He was throwing his hands up behind his head. I read it as frustration. Finally, he pulled off and I started to exit when I saw our waitress running, waving my debit card in her hand. I had left it at the table.
The whole narrative in my head flipped. The man in the beat-up Honda was no longer my enemy; he was a Good Samaritan, trying to keep me from driving off without my card. He had seen the waitress running into the parking lot and had figured out who she needed to get to. I assumed he was a jerk. Instead, he was a man of mercy.
There’s an old saying about assumptions I won’t repeat. When we hurry, our worst assumptions surface first. That’s why Jesus wants us to live an unhurried life. Dallas Willard advised, “You must ruthlessly eliminate hurry from your life.”
To live an unhurried life means we have time and space to see a situation before we make assumptions. We trust God is at work, taking care of us. Panic and anxiety blind us to his solutions. An unhurried life allows us to pause and see people as God sees them. Could it be God wants to give you a gift you’re missing because you are in a hurry?
I wish I could find the man in the beat-up Honda. I need to tell him “thanks” for slowing me down. And I need to apologize for my assumptions. Maybe I could buy him a steak at Outback.