On being gentle and kind

“Life is fragile…handle with prayer.” – Harold B. Lee

I believe I was about 13 years-old when my mother made an embroidery sampler using the above quote. It hung in a frame and I must’ve looked at that piece a million times throughout the course of my life.

Without dating myself (yes, it’s been a few decades since Mom made that!), I really understood the meaning of that quote yesterday morning.

Yesterday, I made the discovery that I am indeed “fragile.”

After dropping the kids off at school, I had a driver pull out in front of me, only to stop and block traffic to turn left. If she had waited just a few seconds, she would’ve had a clear path. Luckily, I was in no rush, but the rudeness just brought me to tears. Honestly, I thought I was crazy being so emotional over this driving incident – which, unfortunately, happens all the time these days.

But my feelings were very real. And it has taken me an entire day to figure out why this bothered me so much. Seriously, I spent a lot of time praying I wasn’t crazy and for the Lord to give me patience with others.

Why? Because I felt like this driver didn’t care about me.

Obviously, she didn’t care about anyone other than herself and her own time-table. But somehow, I felt like she did this on purpose to me. Didn’t she know what I was going through in life? Didn’t she know that my dad died less than a year ago and that I was having a hard time dealing with his death this week? Didn’t she know that we buried a dear friend last week? Didn’t show know that if I hadn’t paid attention to her lack of patience, that we’d have been in an accident?

I felt singled out by this driver, simply because of this: rudeness is running rampant.

The “I don’t give a rip about the next guy attitude” has really gotten on my nerves lately. How can people be so callous and rude? It’s not ocassional anymore – it’s everwhere! It is on the roads, where people are completely inconsiderate of others. It’s in parking lots, where people  leave shopping carts to roll into other people’s cars.  It’s on our front lawns, where folks walking dogs leave their pet’s mess for someone else to clean. It’s in short, snarky comments and the rolling of eyes. Rudeness has become an absolute epidemic.

Of course I don’t expect a total stranger to know me or my emotions on any given day.  But I do expect that people would behave and treat others with some level of respect.

Is it because I watched my dad struggle the last few years of his life that I put myself in other’s shoes?  If I walk through a fog of emotion, are others doing the same? There is no way to know if the people I encounter today have received a big dose of bad news – a death, a diagnosis that is terminal, a foreclosure notice, a job loss. Maybe a smile or a courteous word is all they need to keep moving in that moment.

If I am fragile, than I will just assume someone else is, too.

It is the least that I can do.

Have you been a victim of rude people? Tell me below in the comments section.

© 2012 – Lynne Cobb

15 Replies to “On being gentle and kind”

  1. Good one Lynne…
    My “fragile-ness” as of late has been through the process of job searching. Knowing I am the Best one for the job but seeing others get the job. Going to Job Fairs dressed to kill, while others show up in sweat pants!? It has been a long, grueling, emotionally draining, depressing process. It caused a lot of un-normal anger/rudeness in me. I felt I was living out Job; which is really ironic since I was seeking a job… Anyway, when I was told by a stranger, out of the blue to, “Look up to Him because it’s coming.” I did. More-so than usual. (Or more like taking up prayer habits gone astray) I have been rewarded. The middle of next week, I rejoin the work force. : D

  2. Oh yes, I can relate to the “fragile” issue, and especially on the road. I think everyone is overstretched or exhausted or angry or hurt these days … and it seems to show up on the road. (I did read somewhere that car accident rates are lower than ever, thank goodness, so at least the road rage doesn’t translate to tragedy.) Speaking for myself, I was on edge even more last year while dealing with my mom’s dementia; found myself in tears almost daily over every small thing that went wrong. Which is probably normal.

    As an aside, I liked the way Nancy (in previous comment) compared her job struggle to Job — and glad her patience paid off. Always loved that expression, “Having the patience of Job …” because that’s what it takes these days.

    1. Cindy, I totally agree that everyone is overstretched and exhausted, which feeds this problem. (Especially during May Madness!)

  3. I’m sure I have been the victim of rudeness – but even worse, I’m sure there are times when I’ve been the perpetrator. Sometimes I think we get so caught up in our own small world that we don’t always realize the affect we have on others. But it’s always good to aim for gentle and kind treatment of others. I am nice to waitresses/waiters and old people! 🙂 And I’m usually a considerate driver. Just known to get impatient sometimes and I don’t always hide it. Even though I should.

  4. Lynne – I agree totally with your blog. I believe we are all fragile in varying degrees. Even the rude and aggressive drivers are fragile – perhaps even more than most. Aggressiveness is often times a way to try to overcome fragileness. Now that I am older and retired, it seems that there are more examples that test our patience. It used to get my anger up, but now I just think to myself that they must be having a terrible day and let it pass. I actually feel better, now, when I think of the other person instead of myself.

  5. Nice blog Lynne! Ok, here is how I look at getting on the road and trying to be at one with all these fast fools out there! I say a gratitude prayer as soon as I get behind the wheel and Thank God/Source for a safe and wonderful trip. Of course, this does not mean that everyone is going to be sweet and kind and courteous. This just means that I choose not to lose my joy, peace of mind and I do a lot of waving my hand out the window like “WTH are you doing? Are you kidding me?”….and have a blast when doing so…so I am not an ‘angry’ driver, just have a flair of drama combined with being bewildered! Oh, and I can’t forget about doing some hitting of the breaks when someone is riding my butt! So in the long run, avoiding expressways, Hall road and avoiding my joy, my peace of mind go out the window and so I ‘choose’ to enjoy the journey! Oh, don’t forget to smile even when you seem to be overly fragile..as your dad is here, just in a different form. Happy Mom’s Day Lynne!! ♥

  6. Lynne, love your blog. I find the same issues magnified when I am not the driver, but the passenger when Abbey’s driving. I don’t understand how people can be so rude and oblivious. It is hard to teach when there are so many bad examples.
    I love Connie’s reply about your dad 🙂

    1. Sam, thank you so very much! And I totally agree about the bad examples driving – especially around the high school!

  7. Great post Lynne and so true. I’ve been stressed lately and feel I have become more sensitive to other drivers too! But this is a good reminder as I am sure I am on the other side at times and to be more considerate of others 🙂

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