We live in an age where our tweets about grocery shopping, ill-considered blog posts and half-hearted ‘likes’ of mildly amusing Facebook posts threaten to trivialise and reduce our lives like nothing before. Yet, amongst all the noise we create with our self-importance and desire to be liked, we still hear snatches of a clearer signal that enhances our human connections rather than dilute them.
In a comment on my previous post, Casey kindly expresses a concern as to whether I may be bottling up my feelings concerning Friday’s accident. While I always appreciate folk taking the time to comment on my posts, I feel blessed that Casey cares enough not just to follow through with a comment but also to challenge me on whether I am really ‘over’ what happened or just blowing smoke in my post to disguise a need to vent.
I am pleased to report that I am not bottling anything up and I genuinely have nothing I need to work through or get out of my system. While I have reacted badly to similar situations in the past, on Friday I took a different approach to dealing with the incident. I found it liberating and offered me a timely opportunity for reflection.
While there is no denying a certain amount of inconvenience as a result of the accident, what did I actually lose? Other than three or so hours out of my working week and possibly losing my ‘no claims’ bonus, I am essentially no worse off than before the incident. On the other hand, I find I have gained in a number of ways.
I spent time with a delightful Indian lady and her daughter who were also involved in the accident, comparing our respective philosophies and theologies while the police carried out their enquiries. I met a couple of great tow truck drivers who had a fine line in graveyard humour, a genuine concern for all involved and did me a great service in calling ahead to arrange a courtesy car.
However, the biggest gift of all was that I was given an opportunity to put my faith – all that read, pray on and believe in – into practice when speaking to the disqualified and uninsured driver who drove into the back of my car. In the simple words of George Fox, I was given the choice to ‘let my life speak’ through the way I chose to react to him and the unexpected turn of events he set in motion.
Where I might previously have puffed out my chest, shouted and remonstrated, I was given a chance to turn the other cheek; where I might have nurtured a grudge and apportion blame, it was in my gift to banish ill-will; where I could have demanded summary justice, I resolved to think about mercy; and where I could have argued the facts and challenged untruths, I was minded to hold my tongue and extend grace instead.
In a week where the aftermath of tsunami, earthquakes and civil unrest continues to cleave family life, decimate communities and bereave thousands across the Southern hemisphere, I am truly thankful that my gravest concern is how I might pay for the car repairs.
My flawed and fissured life is a work in progress; a series of moments, milestones and mishaps through which I try to navigate with a pinch of wisdom, a modicum of integrity, an ounce of good humour – and my faith, which exhorts me to seek that of God in every man, no matter the circumstance. On Friday, I simply tried to do just that.