We were coming home from church meetings on Sunday and another driver tried to be kind to us. We were attempting to make a left turn and a driver in an oncoming traffic lane stopped to let us turn in front of him. The problem is that his side of the road was two lanes so it wasn’t safe for us to turn even though he had stopped. After a few seconds of him being patient and waiting for us he got agitated and aggressively waived us forward. I suddenly lost my temper and decided to turn to please the guy. Almost immediately I realized that I was sacrificing the safety of my family to please some stranger in a truck and I became angry at myself. My level of anger/irritation at the entire situation escalated yet again when a car almost t-boned us as we crossed the second lane. All of this because someone, trying to do a nice thing, became irritated and I reacted.
As I have reflected on this over the last two days I have wondered how often this happens. How often do I get upset and make unwise decisions because of someone else? I suspect it is far more than I care to admit.
Last night as my wife and I were winding down our evening activities and beginning to prepare to retire to bed I had an idea that I wanted to flesh out a little bit more for a project I am managing at work. I sat down at the computer to ensure that I emailed my idea and corresponding details to myself before I forgot. While I did so my wife finished getting ready for bed, asked that I do the same, and then proceeded to bed. Once there she sweetly and gently reminded me that she missed me and wanted me to join her. After the second or third reminder I, once again, suddenly became irritated and responded aggressively to her that I would come in a minute indicating that this would only be possible if she stopped harassing me (she wasn’t harassing me, I was being absurd). This hurt her feelings, I felt ashamed to have treated my beautiful and wonderful wife so poorly, and I immediately ended what I was doing and went to seek her forgiveness.
Both of these experiences have led me to ask these questions: “How often am I unkind to those that I love most? Why do I do it?” I believe the answers are: far too often and because they will still love me. How dumb is that?! I am unkind to those that I am closest to because they will still love me. I believe this should be the other way around. I should be nicest to those I love most because they love me. Often I do or say silly/unkind things to my loved ones because I am irritated by what another said or did. How absurd.
Admittedly, I have a lot to work on in my struggle to become a better person but I believe that this is common among most people, that we are often unkind to those we care most about. I invite your thoughts on why this is and what can be done to do better.
(Don’t worry, I have a wonderfully forgiving wife who, after a sincerely apology from me, promptly forgave me. Isn’t she amazing?)