Monday morning I walked out of a bible study feeling all inspired when out of nowhere, my joy got sucker-punched. I was greeted by a parking citation on my windshield. A citation I kid you not, for not curbing my wheels. My wheels that were all of 4-5 inches from the curb, both front and back. Ridiculous, no? Grrrrrrr. At that moment, I didn’t feel an ounce of good will towards “Officer K,” now #1 on my you-know-what list. Nope. My juvenile impulse was to retaliate.
I mean, what else could I do but create an angry Flip-agram with the caption:
Officer K, I’m so sorry about your job. It must suck to make people unhappy, minute after minute, day after day, for a living. Good thing you’re not trigger happy – you know, citing people for wheels not curbed within inches of the curb.
Of course, my vengeful little counterstrike lasted all of 10 minutes. Delete, delete. My conscience pinched me hard. Annoying conscience. Leave me alone, would ‘ya? Actually, no, don’t do that. I need you, Conscience. Don’t ever leave me.
I suddenly felt ashamed, not better, about my foolish move to “spite” Officer K. Officer K who, let’s be honest here, will never even know…or care…that I was mad and “got her back”. And all of this just a week after I wrote about the waste of unforgiveness and worse, just minutes after gaining some powerful insights into the amazing character, mercy and humility of Jesus and the contrasting lack of control and consistency we exhibit. Ugh. I’m a fool. And then, just to confirm I got the message, the next morning, my bible reminded me:
“If you have any encouragement from being United with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.” (Philippians 2:1-3).
All right, ALL RIGHT. I get it. Officer K, maybe you weren’t really “after” me on Monday morning. And maybe you weren’t motivated by a desire to ruin my day or my mood, or anyone else’s for that matter. In fact, maybe you dislike your job as much as I do, and you regret, even lament, that your work often makes others unhappy and that folks like me get all mad at you personally when you’re “just doing your job.” Maybe you’ve sought alternative employment but this job was the only one offered…or that pays the most and frankly, you need the money. We all got bills to pay, right? Maybe you detest ticketing people but are brave enough to do it because you know it’s a necessary evil, to keep our streets (or street parking) in safe, working order. Maybe you’re really an everyday superhero that the rest of us simply fail to recognize and appreciate.
Wait. Hold up, Anita. You are getting wayyy ahead of yourself.
Officer K, you were so after me the other day. You probably even gloated – Mwahahaha! – after sticking that ticket on my windshield and strutting away, didn’t you? Be honest. Didn’t you??
Fine. I’ll be the bigger person. I’ll forgive you. But…can it wait ’til tomorrow? Let me have just one more day to grumble. After that, I’m all about grace for meter maids. Well, sorta kinda. a little. At least, until I get my next parking citation. Deal??