He...we all have known this type of person at least once in our lives. He is the kind of individual that has something to say about everyone and everything in the world. His purchases are better than yours, his car is better than yours, his friends, his music, his job, his experiences, his sicknesses, his....well you get the picture. To hear him tell it, he has the Midas Touch and we could only drool and hope to one day achieve a fourth of his greatness.
And so the car trip was off....for a two hour drive. As the miles clicked away, I found my patience waxing thing. I thought about pulling the caravan over and doing a switch but then decided that it would be painfully rude of me. I contemplated playing "The Quiet Game" but then remembered that sort of psychology only works with the little tikes. I even thought about the roll of duct tape in my emergency kit. Didn't the sanity of myself and my other passengers in the vehicle constitute an emergency?
Miraculously we survived the drive and I casually hopped over to a fellow driver to bargain for a quiet trade on the return trip. 'I did my fair share', I reasoned to myself. 'Let him be someone else's problem for a while.'
The day was well spent and soon the time came to load up and head for home base.
(Remember that bargain I had made earlier? It didn't happen. My patient Creator had other plans for me.)
He, Mr. Hot Air, not only got into my car but he sat in the front passenger seat next to me.
In my head I protested and thought, 'You have got to be kidding me! No way!'
Then I felt Jesus tap me on the shoulder and say, 'When I said love your neighbor as yourself, I never said only certain neighbors. Nor did I say only when you felt like the situation granted it. I meant everyone. You are still here on earth and that means that I still have things for you to do...and to learn...so buckle up Sweetheart.'
A heavy sigh left my lips.
Over the first few miles, I stewed, I argued in my head and envisioned mental temper tantrums on my behalf. God was so patient with me though and I eventually began to calm down. When I did, an interesting thing happened.
I saw that he was wanting to be in the middle of everything not because he believed his supposed perfection but because he was hiding from insecurities and riddled with self doubt. Here was a young man who I could only guess had seen way too much for his heart to handle in his short life. Though his constant monologues belied the fact, he didn't like himself in either physical feature or in character. His bravado was a cover up, a desperate attempt at fulfilling the craving acceptance that beat in his heart.
Once I saw that pain in his eyes, my compassion swelled for him. Where only a few minutes prior I had wished for a passenger seat ejector button, now I wanted to erect a shield around him and protect him from his pains.
I thought about the fact that not only have we all encountered people like him in our life journeys, but we are people like him. We have all had times where we felt that we didn't belong. I questioned in myself....'How many insecurities do I carry around, hide behind, or hide from? How many before him have I been impatient with, fueling hurtful fires instead of quenching them?'
Thank you Jesus for being so patient and loving with me time and again as I grope for Your ways.
These days when he is around and I feel my self indignation rise up and my patience deflating, I am trying to remember to look past his mask and into his heart.
It is much better for all of us that way.