My friend Julie, of the wonderful blog Sober Julie Doing Life, recently wrote this fantastic article that I have the good fortune to be able to share with you all today.
If you follow me on Twitter(@SoberJulie) you may have noticed my very politically correct rants about the parking at my children’s school.
It can be a bloody madhouse some days, to qualify I must say the school does their best and on most days the majority of drivers exercise caution. To date neither our vehicles nor the children have been harmed.
I happen to have a handicap parking permit, I have had one for well over a year now and there are days when I have to use it. As Fabulous as I look outwardly I live with chronic pain and my exhaustion levels can be extremely high. It doesn’t matter why I have one, the point is my physician suggested it, I applied and the MTO gave me one.
So I was high-fiving myself when I found one of the many handicap spots available the other day; usually I’m rushing out of the door and arrive too late to get one. Normally I do the drive around the block until my slower-than-molasses girls emerge from their institute of learning…..long after the parking lot begins to empty.
As I sat there an SUV parked perpendicularly in front of me, blocking me in. Two women got out and went into the school. It was no biggie, one of the mom also has a permit and she’s usually in and out quickly so I got comfy with Twitter for my wait.
My girls came out in their normal leisurely fashion, stopping to see anything shiny along the way. We sat for another 10 minutes and finally the woman and her crew came back.
I had been talking to my niece and had my window down still, I realized this person who we will call “Red-in-the-face-Mom” was speaking to me.
was all I heard before I waved her off with a smile saying “No worries, I don’t mind waiting at all”
oh wait, what is she saying?
“I’ve reported you to the principal, you make me sick and I’m sick of telling you EVERY day about this!…”
I can’t type everything she said because frankly I can’t remember it all but she was enraged and slapped me repeatedly upside the head with her verbal diarrhea.
The gist of it is that her child is the one in need of the handicap parking permit and she can “never” get a handicapped parking spot. She berated me for not have a sticker and stated that she’d told me numerous times and she’s sick of it and of me!
Huh, all of this in front of her children and mine….
Somehow I remained calm and told her I didn’t mind being blocked in, I’m sorry she was frustrated and gently pointed out that I do indeed have a sticker and she hadn’t spoken to me about this before.
I reminded her she knows me, our kids are in class together and that I adore her son and would have gladly moved if I realized her challenge.
She couldn’t hear me.
She was lost in a rage.
There I sat with both of my girls in the car with me, blocked in with Red-in-the-face-Mom pouring out all of her stress onto me.
I didn’t freak out, I didn’t let her know that she’s not the only person in the world with challenges or step out of my Happy Bubble to engage.
Believe me a part of me wanted to.
Her friend finally directed her to get her child into the vehicle and came to me and tried to explain to me that that Red-in-the-face-Mom had been talking to others who didn’t have a permit in the past.
My response: Listen, I don’t mind being blocked in, I would have moved if asked but nobody, nobody has a free pass to beat the proverbial crap out of me for parking when I’m legally allowed in front of my children.
I suggested that once Red-in-the-face-Mom calmed down her friend might want to suggest applying for a designated parking spot for her son (if there is such a thing) and that I’d be open to an apology.
With that I wound up the window and proceeded to answer my children’s questions and explain why we didn’t need to phone the police on that crazy woman…and don’t call her a crazy woman, and no don’t hate her son tomorrow in class, that wouldn’t be kind……
Suffice it to say it took them an additional 7 minutes of getting in and out of the vehicle (with no real reason apparent to me) to move the SUV out of my way.
There’s the situation as it was from my perspective, my point in writing isn’t actually about the wild rantings but about my reaction.
I didn’t throw down, didn’t cuss her out, didn’t get all holier than though…..
I breathed through it….asked myself what has hurt her so badly that day….and remained calm.
Hurt People Hurt People
That my friends is progress and I thank God that He’s working on me!
I hope I’ll be able to continue this behavior, trying to see people more in the light that God would and hold back my natural instinct to react.
The only way I will be able to is to stay sober, keep taking action to improve myself and strengthen my relationship with God.
AA 24 Hour a Day Book
Meditation for the Day – January 10
I will come to God in faith and He will give me a new way of life. This new way of life will alter my whole existence, the words I speak, and the influence I have. They will spring from the life within me. I see how important is the work of a person who has this new way of life. The words and the example of such a person can have a wide influence for good in the world.
Collosians 3: 15-17
Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
Take a moment and visit Julie’s blog, Sober Julie Doing Life, where she shares her wonderful writing through stories about her faith and sobriety, and the humor she finds in every day life (because she so often finds a way to make me laugh when I was expecting to!). You’ll love her just as much as I do!