When Life Splashes Mud
By Pam Kumpe –
When people annoy you, what’s your response?
During a late winter snow storm as I puttered to work in my car, this woman came racing past me in her SUV, splashing muddy water from the pothole onto my car. As she disappeared into the distance, did I lift her up in prayer? Or did I utter words I’ll not share?
What if I learned she was a single mother who had finished a ten hour shift, and she was rushing home to cook dinner, help with homework, do the laundry and spend a few precious moments with her five children?
Would this change my response? Would I have prayed for her?
This same week I remember seeing a young man, pierced, tattooed, seemingly disinterested, standing in line in front of me in the grocery store. He couldn’t make change correctly or fast enough to suit me.
What if I discovered he was a worried 19-year-old college student balancing his fear of those final exams with a worry of not qualifying for his student loans the next semester?
Would this change my response when I watched him count his pennies?
A few years ago, a scary looking bum wearing a trench coat begged for money behind my car. He was in the same spot every day, and I wondered why he wasn’t applying for a real job.
Now what if I heard this bum’s father had died a horrible death, and this caused him to start using over the counter medicine to cover his pain, only for it to become an addiction? What if I heard his worst nightmares of being addicted to street drugs came with this journey?
Would this change my response? Would I have even considered praying for him?
What about those slow walking couples who shop together in the store? Ever got stuck with them? They block my attempts to rush in and out of the store.
Now what if I overheard one of those couples talking about the biopsy report the wife got back last week? What if they looked at each other with tears, and talked about how this will be the last year they go shopping together?
Would this piece of information change my response? Would it?
When I hurry past someone, without thinking of where, what or how he or she is dealing with life, I believe I miss why we’re here. Aren’t we designed for relationships, for caring and loving others, so why do we forget to do this?
My prayer is that God opens my heart, not to only those close to me, but to those who are struggling, to those on the corner, to those in the store, to those I’ll see today. Offering up a prayer is something I can do anytime, anywhere, even now.
I want to be slower in judging, and quicker to forgive, and I must ask God for the patience to see others with a heart of love and compassion.
As I think about this, I can only wonder what you thought about when I splashed mud on your car. Or how you reacted when I held up the line in the store? Or when I took too long shopping for the right cookies? Or when I took your parking spot?
But wait, if you knew more about me, knew my heart, my struggles, my dreams, and my hopes, would it change how you respond?
God says in II Chronicles 7:14 that if we, who are called by God’s name will humble ourselves, pray and seek His face, plus turn from our wicked ways, He will forgive our sins and bring healing our way.
So, when life splashes mud your way, try a new response: Seek God’s face, eat a cookie and pray. And don’t forget to enjoy the day because some day you’ll find yourself taking the final walk in the shopping aisle of life—and you might as well have fun along the way.