Friday, August 31, 2007

Forgiveness (!)

So I was driving in the most horribly dangerous spot on I-80 (commonly known as the spaghetti bowl), being cautious, staying my eight car lengths (ok, more like three) behind when I see it: red break lights. I put my breaks on and pull to stop, nice and easy. I look in my rear-view mirror to see if the guy behind me is being as cautious as I am, and then I hear it: bumper hitting bumper clang. I say something like, great, and think something like you idiot. I am almost always expecting to get hit here, so I am not really surprised, just self-righteously annoyed. I try to decide in a millisecond if I should pull over considering that I already am in the most dangerous spot in the freeway, and me pulling over will make it even more deadly. I decide I should; I am in my parents' car and what if there is damage? So I veer just a little to the right, glance in my rear view to make sure Bad Driver is following me, which is when I see he is not. So I straighten out the wheel and think, maybe he thinks this is too dangerous of a place. Maybe we'll pull off on an exit or something. Then all of a sudden there is a clearing to the right, definitely safe enough to pull over and have a little chat, so I pull over.
Which is when I see the jeep speed past me, two males shamelessly looking over at me, LAUGHING.
My fingers shake on the steering wheel and my insides swoon with warm rage. Those jerks. I am determined not to let the criminals get away, even if it means a full out freeway chase. I am so up for it. Without even thinking (usually it would take me five minutes to decide if this was the "right" time to pull back on the freeway) I jerk my dad's little Honda back onto the freeway and press my foot to the gas. Zoom Zoom. You better watch yourself, Jeep Man.
The jeep is now quite a few cars in front of me, still somehow I get the license before it weaves in and out of enough cars that I can't keep up with it. I say the license over and over, out loud, as if my life and the lives of all my children, born and unborn, depend on the memorization of those three numbers, three letters. I am determined to get this guy, to make him suffer with all the other hit-and-runners out there. He laughed, for crying out loud.
Later I tell my dad on the phone, "...even if he would have given me an "I'm sorry" wave, I probably would have let it go." Well, maybe.
Instead I call the police and figure out what I have to do to make sure this guy gets punished.
They say I have ten days to come fill out a report. I think about my time, my energy, my precious life. I think about the forty five minutes more that I will have to give to Mr. Rude in that disgustingly ugly teal jeep just to punish him. Maybe it just isn't worth it, I think. Maybe I just need to let it go.
Dad tells me I can "pull myself together" and "forgive" and still fill out the report "for the good of the community." I know this is true, but it would be so much more fun to fill out out to punish him.
Letting something go is a whole lot easier than the heart-breaking business of forgiveness. I think about forgiving and all I see is his face, his smile, his smirk whizzing past me and I want to spit. And ram my car into his five or six times.
I think, well, I have ten days to breath, to get these stones out of my gut, to forgive. I don't have to do it now. Which makes me wonder if forgiveness can be obtained in the blink of an eye. All I know is that would be some serious grace. A miracle as bonafide as the parting of the Red Sea.
Which is what it is going to be anyway, if I can ever picture that man's face and not want to ram into that jeep of his.
I exhale. Even now, I feel less pleasure in the angry thoughts. I just want it to be over. It's so tiring being angry--it really takes it out of me. Plus, it puts me in the worst mood.
Times like this I don't know what to pray except for "help" and "please". Then I take deep breaths and think about how great it is that I can pray for help. That I don't have to stay in this rage, that I can be soft and loving again. That maybe, if I ever see that jeep again, instead of anger I can feel a connectedness (don't loose me here), an actual realization of Mr. Rude's humanity; of mine, which is no different. I may have more of a moral polish on my outside ( I would definitely stop if I hit someone), but I know our insides are the same: dark and mean. Sinister. ( I did rear-end someone a couple of years ago and guess what the first thought in my nice little brain was, hmm? Something like, "Goose it Danae! Just goose it!")
And then, Jesus died for both of us. It's something like the warm sun thawing my icy, blue heart to picture me and Mr. Rude, looking up at the Man who died for us. This helps me. Picturing us there on that desolate mountain together. In a perfect world we could hold hands, but maybe that is pushing it.
But that is what the love of God does. It pushes us. It compels.
I take a breath now and feel almost whole again, almost nice. Nine more days should definitely do the trick (miracle)...yes, time, "help", and "please".

1 comment:

Jooste Roost said...

so what did you do? did you report him? More importantly, did you forgive him? The battles that are raging are good - I'm with you there. It's definitely worth it to forgive and let go of the bitterness, the anger, the resentment, the self-righteousness - the sin. I want to start learning how to do this now so that I don't have major walls break down 10, 20, 30, 40 years from now. More of HIM less of me, please God - CHANGE ME!