I’ve had to learn through the years to keep my gut reactions in check. Mainly because of who or what I represent. I’m a technician at a local pharmacy, I’m the daughter of some well known people in town, and, most importantly, I’m a Catholic. I represent my employers, coworkers, family, church, and Jesus Christ when I’m out and about. This hasn’t always been a thought that I kept at the forefront of my mind. Especially when driving. See, I have this slumbering monster that lurks deep within my heart, and it is only awoken by other drivers. I can’t stand it when people cut in front of me, slam on their brakes with no warning for no reason, turn without using a blinker, etc. But lately I’ve been trying to remind myself of who I represent here on Earth, or more accurately Who, and act accordingly.
Today has not been the best day. I was up tossing and turning all night because I felt sick to my stomach, I got up still feeling sick, I had to wrestle two steadily heavier babies (around 15 lbs each) and a ridiculously heavy cat (17 lbs) to the vets office this morning, and then God sent a test my way. I’d like to say I resisted the urge to roll down my window and alert him to his inadequate intelligence for saintly and pious reasons, but alas, I’m not either of those things. See, this guy in an itty bitty teeny weeny Smart Car decided he couldn’t wait two seconds for me to drive past him before he drove across the street to McDonald’s. And he very nearly hit me in the process.
As any mother might agree, it’s one thing to almost hit me when I’m in a car by myself. Almost hit me when my babies are in said car with me, and I go Hulk-raving mad. It’s not a smart move. I considered hitting the gas instead of the brake for a sliver of a moment, but that would have put my boys in harm’s way, too, so I resisted and screeched to a stop and laid on the horn. And how does he thank me for graciously sparing his life? An over the top, sarcastic wave and grin. He would have been a speed bump if I hadn’t stopped. And before I could react more thoroughly, he was gone. Driving like the crazed loon he was.
I was fuming over my missed opportunity to alert him to his error of thinking I would be amused by his gesture when I noticed my rosary hanging from my rearview mirror. It occurred to me that he could have seen it from where he was, as well as other drivers around us. And I was suddenly thankful that he had been driving so fast and got away so quickly. You see, I had some choice words for him that were not filled with any form of love, peace, or charity, and if I had been given the opportunity to say them, I would have. And I would not have been being the example I’m called to be.
We are all called, even the youngest among us, to be an example to the world around us. So many times I forget that every decision I make, every action I take, is noticed by someone somewhere. And I want them to notice things that bring them closer to God, not make them think of how I claim to be a Christian, that I go to mass every Sunday, and yet this is how I act. I want them to see God’s love shining through me, not just after I’ve left church and have that Sunday morning glow, but when I’ve been pushed to my limit and I still hold the door for someone who was gripping about my children fussing, or when I smile at the cashier and ask how they are doing when it’s obvious they are in a bad mood, or when I leave the harried waitress who has dark circles under her eyes and a tired face a tip even though she never came to my table past getting my drink order.
I’ve heard it said by a few women I know that they think it is disrespectful to wear a crucifix or a cross as a piece of jewelry. I think it’s the opposite. Like my rosary that was hanging from my mirror, a crucifix or medal on a chain around my neck reminds me that I represent more than just myself. It forces me to acknowledge that there is more to me than me, that I belong to One who is so much higher above me. I get irritated, frustrated, or stressed and the temptation to snap or ignore someone grows stronger and stronger. But a movement causes the rosary to sway, or the metal to brush my skin, and I’m reminded of Who it is that loved me enough, and that He also loves them enough. And I fervently hope I am always reminded, and so spread His love and word more.