Since I began this spiritual journey in earnest, I notice I have character defects I hadn’t recognized earlier. As these are revealed, I try to work on them. Actually, God works on them… I just have to give them over to Him. And not take them back. Oh, but they are subtle things.
So far the most difficult one to give up was angst and frustration with other drivers. Road rage is a dangerous thing, and I try to avoid it these days. But still my frustration was getting the better of me and affecting my emotional state. It went kind of like this…
Wake up. Morning meditation and reading. Feel the sense of peace and calm. Get ready for work. Leave for work. Observe (or get out of the way of) drivers performing dangerous, careless or selfish driving maneuvers. Peace evaporates. Anxiety fills the space where peace used to be. Anxiety escalates to frustration or anger. Arrive at work, stressed and unpleasant.
This cycle would repeat almost daily. I didn’t like that my emotions were so easily hijacked, nor that I had so little control over my reactions. I would occasionally look around at other drivers that were observing the same situations, and most of them did not seem to be agitated like me. Aha! A clue that this may be MY problem.
Over the course of a year and a half (Doh!) I grew more weary and displeased at my continuing emotional turmoil. I noticed in those situations I would often say (out loud), “I don’t understand this insanity!” or “What in the world?”, or “I don’t get it!”
One day, after strenuously declaring my complaint of “I don’t get it!” to the universe… I heard God say “It is not your job to ‘get it’. I didn’t create you to be ‘road monitor’. As long as you insist on doing that job, you will continue to experience these emotions of frustration and anxiety.” After thinking about it, I had to agree with God. It wasn’t my job to note all the bone-headed maneuvers of other drivers, nor was it necessary for me to comment on them. I’m still working on the commenting; Breaking a habit takes a little time. But the emotional response was easier to abort.
Can you guess what happened? My morning routine changed a little bit. I…
Wake up. Morning meditation and reading. Feel the sense of peace and calm. Get ready for work. Leave for work. Observe (or get out of the way of) a dangerous, careless or selfish driving maneuver. Agree this was not my job, and none of my business. Peace remains. Arrive at work, calm and ready to be productive and helpful.
It seems so simple, in hindsight.
Occasionally Often I tend to make things more difficult than they need to be. But the lesson I learned had deeper roots than just resigning from the job of ‘road monitor’. I also learned that I too often accept a job that was neither offered, nor mine to take. I began to see that this was all symptomatic of my selfishness. If only the world would operating MY way, things would be so much better! But history does not bear that out. In fact it’s the opposite. MY way generally makes everyone unhappy, including me. That’s something I need to remember every day. Good thing for me that God is so gracious to remind me.