We are planning a trip to Dallas with some friends for the fall.
Just a weekend, enough time to get away and feel refreshed. Shortly after we made these plans, I realized we (desperately) needed new tires for our car. I went for my morning walk with Penny and she said I could leave the kids with her while I went to take care of the car. I took the car in and they gave me the bill, which was MORE than the cost of our weekend trip.
After the tires were replaced, I drove towards Chick-fil-A to pick up lunch for Penny, as a thank-you for watching the kiddos. On the drive over, my mind kept mulling over the cruel irony of having huge car repairs right after we decide to go on the trip. It just didn't seem fair. I was a little frustrated, to say the least, and my attitude was less than holy. My mind was griping and my heart was getting a little cold.
As I placed my order in the drive-thru, a kid came running in front of my car. I was parked, so it was no big deal, but I noticed that he was wearing some kind of headphones. They were big and blue, similar to the sound-blocking headphones one would wear on an airport tarmac. And when I saw his Mom run over to him, I saw from his rocking movements, his curled hands, and the way she spoke gently to him, that he was autistic.
She opened the door for him and as soon as he walked into the restaurant, I heard him release a cry and huddle in the corner, away from the noise of the few patrons that were there. Again, his amazing mom coaxed him gently through the door, holding his hand as they made their way to the front to order, his feet hesitantly tip-toeing to the cashier, his back hunched away from the sounds, his earphones in place.
I couldn't keep the tears from pouring down my cheeks or the sobs from building up in my throat. Here I was whining to myself about a trip that we STILL GET TO TAKE but that will be a little tighter because of the NEW TIRES we had to get put on OUR CAR THAT RUNS. While I am sitting in the drive-thru, picking up food for my friend who was more than happy to watch my kids for me, for free, I witnessed a tender and beautiful moment between a mother and her precious son. A Mom who probably doesn't get as many breaks as she deserves.
I have been convicted in my life countless times. But few have been this deep.
I hated myself in that moment, that I had so easily been aggravated by a tiny circumstance, when I was sitting squarely in the middle of a very, very good life. In those few seconds of witnessing a tender life and unconditional love, I saw myself as the selfish person I am. I miserably picked up my order and immediately called my friend. My sobbing barely allowed me to get through telling her the story, and bless her heart, she probably missed half of it.
I just felt awful. I felt disgusted with myself for having a negative attitude over something so trivial. And when I pulled into the garage (aka, a house for the car that we own), after opening the garage door with our electronic garage door opener, I sat in the car and cried some more, surrounded not only by sturdy walls but by walls filled with insulation to keep out the cold. It was just a very raw moment, where my eyes were opened to all of the good things in my life that I manage to overlook. And in that same moment of frustration with myself, I simultaneously felt overwhelmed that God loved me in spite of myself, that He saw me as forgiven and worthy, when all I saw was a spoiled brat. He didn't hate me for acting or thinking selfishly. And that, too, made me emotional.
I'm so glad God gave me the conviction to open my eyes and to focus those eyes back on the things that truly matter in my life. It might sound silly--I was just being human and I had a bad attitude. Who cares. And the crying? Meh, I'm on birth control again so my hormones are probably screwy. But it was more than that. I am blessed. I am called to be loving and patient and peaceful and faithful. And I was acting quite the opposite, all over an unexpected expense. An unexpected expense that we have the money to pay for. I had absolutely no reason to complain.
It was just a good wake-up call, I think. A reminder to get a grip.
Have a lovely day!