My husband John and I were on an unfamiliar, two-lane, wooded road in upstate New York. He was driving. We were heading for a destination that might have been drawing many other people in cars, but it didn’t feel like it until suddenly all traffic came to a stop. We couldn’t see any free space ahead of us.
We began inching along and even then stopping for many minutes at a time. I began to get nervous about being very late and missing out on something important. I felt edgy. Could we turn somewhere? Was there another way? Nothing seemed open. Then we came to a side road, but weren’t tempted by it because we had no idea where it would take us. Besides, there was a very large Cadillac waiting on that side road. The traffic stopped us, yet again, right there.
As we waited there, the Cadillac began trying to move forward, to put its fender in front of us just far enough that we’d have no choice but to give it our place in this endless line. I immediately resented that intrusion, as it might hamper us yet another step in getting where we were going. I looked at John and he was watching the Cadillac carefully, but said nothing. As we waited and the Cadillac edged forward more and more, I got more and more edgy with it.
After about half an hour, the traffic started to move slowly once again. John caught the eye of the Cadillac driver, gave a little bow and waved him ahead of us. I was astonished. That wasn’t necessary! I looked at my husband with a big question mark all over my face.
He grinned a little, and said only, “Takes the sting out.”
Oh. It wasn’t because he thought he had to give way. It wasn’t even a favor to the unknown, rude driver. It was for the peace in his own heart.
Over the years, his gentleness has come back to me again and again. Rather than resist the ordinary obstructions in life, he chose to give something. When I tried it, I found too that it cleared away opaque layers over my own heart. I could find joy without any mountainous resentment to climb over. A gift indeed.
If you’d like to discover more of your own gentleness, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 520-829-3497