Sometimes the view from our balcony is better than television. Last week as we ate dinner, a full blown shouting match erupted on the street below us. Within 5 minutes 20 neighbors came out to their balconies to behold the spectacle.
A white truck and a blue hatchback approached each other nose to nose in the narrow street below us, with no room to pass each other. Both drivers slammed on their brakes and got out of the cars yelling that the other would have to back up his vehicle.
Their hostility escalated quickly. While the driver of the blue hatchback ranted, the white truck driver got into his car, turned the music on full blast, and got out a magazine, as if to say, “I’m in no hurry here.” The other man responded by announcing that he was going to go for a walk to drink tea somewhere. He left his car in the middle of the road. As soon as he disappeared, the truck driver began to let the air out of his right front tire.
Within 5 minutes the shouting match continued:
“You’re an animal! I can’t believe you’re so rude that you won’t even move your truck,” yelled one driver.
“I’ll fix you,” shouted the other. You’re blocking traffic! I’m going to call a tow truck! I’m going to call the police too.” He proceeded to make a LOUD phone call ordering a tow truck. Finally the other man backed up his blue car.
I can hardly believe the stubbornness of two grown men to argue over something so trivial. What did it matter who backed his car up to give the other the right of the way? We see this kind of fight on the street often, and as a foreigner, it’s easy to judge the nationals. “They’re volatile, they blow up easily. People don’t act this way back home,” we say.
It’s easy to recognize stubbornness and selfishness in others, but actually I’m not so different from that truck driver. In a conflict, how often do I:
Insist on my own way
Justify myself and blame the other person.
When I try to handle life on my own terms, I’m just like that truck driver, but God has a different way for me. Recently someone shared with me Thomas A Kempis’s Four Sources of Peace:
- Strive to do another's will rather than your own.
- Choose always to have less than more.
- Seek the lower places in life, dying to the need to be recognized and important.
- Always and in everything desire that the will of God may be completely fulfilled in you.
What a contrast to my truck driver attitude! If I followed this rule every day in my family and friendships, how different my life would be!