Lessons from driving school

Today, I have the privilege of sharing a guest post with you. My dear friend Denise and I were childhood friends. Through the wonderful world of technology we have reconnected and she is a treasure in my life. After my story on grace she sent me this email below. I loved the story and found it to not only be full of grace, but her situation was one we can all relate to in one way or another. Thanks Denise!

I don’t know if my story is about grace so much, but your story reminded me of an encounter I had with someone. I had been taking an online traffic course at home to get out of a speeding ticket, and it is timed so you can’t just skip through it to the test. You have to stay on each screen for a certain number of minutes. I was taking it as fast as I could because I had to be at my son’s school for an appointment. Finally I finished, jumped in the minivan, and headed for the school.

We lived in Destin which is a tourist area – very crowded, full of drivers unfamiliar with the area. To get out of my neighborhood I have to turn left, which means I have to wait for the traffic on my left to clear, cross the street and then wait in the median for traffic on the right to clear. Sometimes the median is full of cars waiting to go both directions and can be quite a mess. I waited and watched as the car in the median in my way let several opportunities to go pass her by. I finally lost my patience and drove across the street and got in front of her. She honked and in my hurried, frustrated, angry state I rolled down my window and yelled, “I couldn’t wait all day for you to decide to go!” She said, “You should have gone around” (meaning turned right and made a U-turn). I shook my head and drove off.

Yes, I know, I didn’t learn a thing from that online driving school.

I was seething. Who was this woman to tell me how to drive out of my own neighborhood? You have to be aggressive to get across 98 in Destin! Otherwise you will never get anywhere!

When I got to the school, I immediately calmed down. I felt ashamed of my behavior. I had confronted this woman and might have even ruined her day. I might have upset her so much that maybe later in the day she would take it out on her husband, her kids, or make a costly mistake somehow because she was upset. I knew I had to apologize. From her car’s position in the median, I knew she was going to the medical center directly across the street from my neighborhood. After the meeting, I wrote a note and went to look for her car so I could put it on the windshield.

As I drove through the parking lot, who did I see walking but the very same woman. I pulled up next to her and rolled down my window. The look on her face – surprise, then anxiousness – made me speak quickly to put her at ease. I said, “I just wanted to say I’m sorry. I know encounters like that can ruin your day, and I don’t want that to happen to you. I am so very sorry and would like to ask your forgiveness.”

She was surprised. She said, “My girlfriend said, ‘That girl is going to get herself killed.’” I said, “I behaved badly, I know. Here’s a note I had written you. I’m so very sorry. I just want the rest of your day to be good.” She said OK and took the note and away I drove, thanking God I had made the effort to find her and marveling that I did.

It did strike me that her girlfriend had been concerned with my well-being. I don’t know that I would have if the situation was reversed.

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