A bit confused and irritated, I checked my rearview mirror for oncoming cars, then slowed down to let Mr. Spiffy SUV pass on by.The kids noticed the chaos at this point and asked, “Mama, is he honking at you? Is he teasing us?” You should know that in our house, teasing is a pretty dirty word. With toddlers only 11 months apart, we have had to drill into them that games of “See this? Want it? Too bad!” are not acceptable. Our kids have learned early that sharing and cooperation are musts in life.
As Mr. Spiffy SUV sped past - a teenage guy, probably driving his mom’s SUV - I glibly replied, “Well, he certainly doesn’t understand what it means to cooperate!”I was finally able to merge, and we all settled back into our snacks and warmth. As we cruised down the highway, I debated for the next ten minutes whether we all had the energy to make a quick stop at our local Trader Joe’s before heading home. It would save me an extra trip out later on, but I knew we were nearing the crash-and-burn zone just prior to the kids collapsing into bed for naps. I decided to try it.
Entering the shopping complex where we would need to park, a car stopped at a stop sign suddenly zipped out into the intersection, attempting to make a left past me. I had to slam on my breaks and swerve a bit so that we missed each other. This car, full of teenage girls, jerked around us and sped on.
“Wow, people really need to learn how to drive!” I said, scowling and feeling my own crash-and-burn zone quickly approaching.I grumpily circled around until we found a parking spot and then unloaded the kids into the sub-freezing air.
After yelling, “Come on, people!” in my hangriest, mama bear voice, an odd thought suddenly dawned on me. What if some of these close encounters were partially my fault?I mean, of course, only partially, and probably hardly at all, but maybe just a tiny bit? Maybe in my distracted snack-passing, exhausted list-checking, frantic homeward-hurrying, I had some minuscule fault to bear in these near-accidents? I agree it’s unlikely.
Still, I kept thinking, "Gosh, what if?"
And then I thought about the relationships in my life that have been strained and how obviously the fault lay in the other person's court. But, "Gosh, what if?"
And then I thought about arguing with my husband and all the icy-silences and how desperately he owed me an apology. But, "Gosh, what if?"
And how, even God had let me down and gone silent and for years now I have waited for a word, a sign, a touch. But, "Gosh, what if?"