We are on vacation at the beach this week, and I’ve been taking pictures — both of our family, and of the sights and people around us. So my eyes have been open to pay attention and see more than I would usually recognize. One thing that I’ve noticed is that it seems like long periods of time together seems to multiply the impact of emotions. As friends begin spending every waking hour together for day after day, passions can run high. Families can enjoy and appreciate time together until the breaking point when everyone just wants their own corner of the house to hide in.
As I was taking pictures today, I caught a picture of two girls riding on the back of a golf cart. They were apparently friends (not sisters), but they had turned away from each other and slid as far from each other as they could. I’m guessing they had a disagreement and were each pouting and mad with one another. Out here this week, I’ve seen the same thing between adults — between families — between spouses. And I don’t think that it’s any different than what happens at home, but it might be a little bit heightened because of the concentrated amount of time together.
Let’s be honest. Without love, we would be ready to kill each other. We can get on each other’s nerves. We can lose our patience. We can become offended over silly things that really shouldn’t compromise our relationships. But all of that comes down to pride, right? At some point, our true colors shine through once we’ve been tested to our limits. And in most cases, when the “being nice” wears off, we’re faced with whether or not we will just turn to the person and say “I’m sorry.”
Yesterday, we were tired and ready to head home from the pool, but someone had left their golf cart parked sideways behind ours and two others, blocking us all in. We were all parked legally in spaces, and this cart had just decided to do as they pleased with no concern for our being able to get out. We looked around for signs of anyone around to no avail. We even helped one of the carts on the side navigate their way barely past the edge of the offending cart. A security guard on his cart even saw what was happening from a short distance away and gave us no help.
So eventually, we got tired of waiting, and I walked over to the offending cart, pressed the gas pedal on it to release the brake, and began pushing the cart by hand out of the way. At that moment, I hear a “Stop! What do you think that you’re doing?” from behind me. I turn around to see a woman security guard walking over with a stern look, telling me “You can’t do that, don’t you know that’s a security cart?” To which I replied, “No, there are no markings on it, and no one is here at it, and it has been blocking our way.” She continued to try and tell me that what I was doing was wrong. To which I said, “Look, you have no right to be telling me about right and wrong when you’ve left this cart abandoned, illegally parked, and left multiple families blocked in with no other option than to do something about it since your buddy over there saw the whole situation playing out and didn’t lend a hand or tell us what was going on. Please move so we can get out.”
I was not very loving in my response because I was tired, frustrated, and ready to get home. I was not trying to be rude or disrespectful, but I felt justified in my pointing out that she was actually the one in the wrong and that I was just trying to deal with the situation she had left for me by her inconsiderate actions. But it completely passed over her head and she seemed as if she could care less, moving her cart over to join the other security guard she had been talking with (who had been watching the whole time). I drove up, and I asked her for her name. “Jill”, she said. At first, I was thinking of asking so that I could make a complaint. I can be honest enough to admit that.
But this morning, I’m going to pray for “Jill”, and I’m going to pray for myself — that I will be able to show a little more love. My daughter was witness to me standing up for what was right — but she did not see an example of what would have been the most loving way to handle the situation. Lord, help me, even in these times where my patience is stretched thin to rely upon your strength, to call out upon your name, and to trust you. Help me to leave room for your wrath, your correction, your guidance — and for your kindness to lead others to you. Help me to find points of agreement instead of falling into division and offense. Help me to die to self, and see even challenges when I feel wronged as an opportunity to remember that you truly were wronged, persecuted, mocked, and falsely accused – so that I might offer to others the same measure of forgiveness that I hope to receive myself.
“Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.” – 1 Corinthians 13:4-7