>Put Yourself in Their Shoes

>Alex's BikeYesterday was a pretty normal day for me. Some parts were great, like taking time to pick up my closest friend and take her to the YMCA and workout so we could catch up on several weeks of missed conversation. Some parts were not so great, like my three year old Alex deciding that he was not in the mood for his usual two hour nap. I force myself to choose not to get overly emotional and bent out of shape when the unexpected happens and things don’t go my way.

Like when my husband calls from work and says he’ll be late for the second night in a row. I choose to remember that this is very rare and I am lucky that he often comes home early. He is fortunate to have a job at all in this economy, let alone a satisfying job that provides for our family well.

I admit I was becoming slightly unraveled when he said he’d meet me at Wendy’s for dinner before our weekly Financial Peace University class. The kids were full of energy and not their usual cooperative selves. So when I was stopped at a red light in heavy traffic and someone rear-ended me hard, I got pretty upset. I looked back and signaled for her to follow me as I tried to make my way out of the middle of a busy road. I wondered if I should call the police or ask the witness next to me to pull over as well. But we were all in a hurry to get somewhere.

I explained to the boys that we would be ok and tried not to say anything disparaging about her in front of them. I calmly parked the car and got out to look at the damage and waited. She walked up without saying a single word. Nothing. I looked a the torn bumper and said, as calmly and nicely as I could, “Yeah. I’m gonna need your information.”

I even got out my own pen and paper, and waited, and waited while she fished around in her car. Eventually she came out with a business card with her insurance company and toll free number written on it. I asked for her address, to which she replied “Why would you need my address?”. I was getting irritated, but stared at the card, thinking. I decided I had enough and handed her my card (my precious new blog biz cards, since I had none of my engineering cards on me) and I thanked her. She said “Your welcome” and literally sped off through the parking lot, in an obvious hurry to get out of there.

I admit, I was hopping mad that she didn’t even apologize to me. But I tried hard to put myself in her shoes. She had obviously be very distracted while driving behind me. She was clearly in a huge hurry. Maybe she was late picking up a kid? Maybe she had just been yelled at by an important client. Maybe she was just too shocked to say anything to me. What if her life was a mess, a difficult, challenging situation? So few people are as blessed as I am, and I know that. I have not only a great life, I have an eternal hope in a sovereign God who loved me so much he sacrificed his only Son to have a relationship with me. What if she doesn’t know that He did that for her too?

This is how I get past my anger, my pride. So next time someone wrongs you, try putting yourself in their shoes.


14 responses to this post.

  1. >We got rear ended at a red light a few years ago. The guy was driving a company car and told the police that we stopped suddenly. At a red light.


  2. >I had a similar situation this morning in the car pool lane. I was seconds – inches – away from jumping out of the car to tell another Mom exactly what I thought of her driving. I suddenly had a vision of being Jesus to someone else … and the lessons that I would be teaching my kids who would witness the whole ordeal. My life is good and if the worst thing that happens to me is a CRAZED lunatic in the carpool lane, then I guess I can suck it up πŸ™‚


  3. >Fortunately, it makes no difference whether you stopped suddenly or not…still their fault. But it's amazing what some people will say.


  4. >Ain't it the truth πŸ™‚ I've been reminded over and over this month that we ARE Jesus to other people. I hope it's helping.


  5. >She still could have apologized, especially since you have kids in the car. But I agree, nothing to get the blood pressure up, for. You did good.


  6. >Great post! I'm also relieved that you heard from her insurance company.


  7. >Oh I am sooo sorry to hear this happened to you … I am so glad you and the boys are ok…but peeved the other lady did not say sorry…Once when I was an intern I rear-ended a preggo lady. I apologize profusely…but later my mom told me I should write her a written apology note. so I did…amazing how tht has stuck with me all these years! And I agree with Stephanie…setting a good example for the younger ones is worth its weight in gold!thank you for picking me up and for good convesation hope your week gets better.


  8. >Thanks πŸ™‚ I'm not sure if she even realized the kids were in the car. She certainly didn't ask.


  9. >Me too! Now I just gotta find time to get it fixed.


  10. >A written apology note would be really awesome. I'll try to remember that next time I screw up badly πŸ™‚


  11. >It is really difficult to stop and think about those things in the heat of frustration. But it surely doesn't do any good to get all upset and freak out about it either! We never know what someone else's situation may be. And being the eternal optimist that I am, I usually lean in their favor. They MUST have been having a bad day or something! πŸ™‚ Glad to know there are others of this same thinking! And most importantly, you all were safe and it was only the car that was damaged!


  12. >I credit you your zen mindset – I could use a little of that lately!And I still think there is NO excuse for her not apologizing, no matter what mindset she was in….Glad no one was hurt!Stopping by from Sits


  13. >Yeah, the fact that none of us were hurt certainly helped my frame of mind. πŸ™‚


  14. >The whole mission of this blog is to encourage and spread that kind of zen mindset, though I admit I certainly have the occasional emotional freakout! πŸ™‚ Thanks for stopping by.


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