This week has been a strange one. I finished my Trauma Healing class, and it was so wonderful! I highly recommend it and I’m looking into learning how to facilitate that group class, to further the healing. The last unit was on forgiveness and it was, of course, just what I needed, as I’ve been wrestling with that. I’ve noticed, that since the Pandemic, people are outwardly meaner, short tempered, and not understanding AT ALL…BUT, they want others to be understanding to them. I work in a social services role and have seen it personally lately. A LOT. SMH! I’ve decided to list recent examples — recent meaning what I’ve encountered THIS week.

On Tuesday morning, I was waiting in my VW Beetle for my oldest, because I was off-work and taking her to an out-of-town medical appointment, due to her vehicle being worked on. It is a manual car, so I had it parked across the span of the entrance to my driveway with the hazard lights on, so people would take notice and not crash into me. My house is on a tiny street that people fly down and I’ve also had people swerve into my yard while not paying attention. I always ere on the side of caution! As I’m sitting there, waiting and looking at social media, I have the windows down. A younger woman with a young toddler in a jogging stroller are walking toward me, but on the opposite side of the road. “Hey,” she shouts to me. “You left your blinker on.” I smile, confused, and say, “They’re my hazards and I have them on so no one will hit me.” She then, as she continues walking by says, “Well you are sitting in a car that people can see, so they’re not going to hit you. People with brains know that.” WTF? Really? Did she really just say that out loud? The nerve! I wished I hadn’t, but I called out to her, “People who are nice and have manners mind their own business.” She stopped and turned around, behind me at this point, looking at me as if I’d slapped her. I suppose I did with my words? She proceeded spouting off verbally, in some sort of tirade, but I thankfully couldn’t hear her. Karens are starting to get younger and younger…sheesh!

Another scenario was while I was working on Wednesday. Someone came in needing something, but did not have the correct documentation. A co-worker waited on him and his teenage son, as I was on my way to my break. When I came back, she told me that was the only person she’d waited on, as she was explaining what was needed and he threw the documents he had at her, cursed her and yelled. He then stormed out, got in his vehicle and peeled out, leaving black marks and nearly hitting an elderly couple that was coming into the building. He came back later with the document he did need, but it wasn’t official (only a photocopy). He proceeded to yell at me and curse at me too, while I calmly tried to explain that this wasn’t official because a representative from the agency didn’t sign it. He again yelled about how it must not take intelligence to work for my organization and left. He returned a final time with the correct documentation and I was able to help him. He apologized in a monotone way, stating that he was “a little coarse earlier.” Wait, what? A LITTLE??? All I could do is thank him for his diligence and wish him a nice day.

Lastly, on Friday, I took my youngest, who is fifteen, to our local coffee shop. I’ve been taking him on Fridays to celebrate him sticking with summer school with a good attitude. We were standing in line, waiting our turn. A young man in overalls, with a cute little three-year-old daughter in-tow, kept jumping in and out of line to greet and side-hug people — I literally think he knew everyone in there. At one point, he let the two people in front of us go ahead because he just remembered that he needed to take a picture of the day’s fresh donuts that he was supposed to send them to his wife to choose. Ooopsie! He sheepishly grinned at me and my son, and we both just looked at each other in disbelief. It was finally my son and I’s turn to order and THAT was the point that he decided to jump back into line. I graciously allowed him to go ahead, has he had previously been in front of me and he had a young child that needed to eat. Everyone behind us looked annoyed with us (or maybe the situation), but I was not going to show my young son an example of un-kindness and bad behavior. We finally got to order, received our order and sat down. Meanwhile, Mr. Overalls was working the room, not paying much attention to the daughter.

We were leaving to take my son to school and as I’m backing out, my manual car stalled (still new to driving a stick-shift). I immediately got it started again, but a car that had been next to me, was backing out too, so I stopped to let them out. At that very moment a large diesel truck ran up on me, so close that I thought he was going to hit me, and laid on his horn. The car backing out kindly saw my predicament and moved forward into their spot to allow me to pass by. I was moving at a descent clip toward the parking lot exit, but the diesel truck decided to pass me and cut me off. Giving me the most unkind, death-like stare was Mr. Overalls, all while shoving a donut in his face and with a minor child in the vehicle. Wow. How unsafe and wreckless! At least she looked to be in her carseat!

Now, you might be thinking: Why are you telling us about this? Get over it! I will admit that all of those people had me annoyed for a bit. I’m human and it goes with the territory. I will say, I did end up forgiving them. Why? Because they’re human too. I also do not know what battles they’re facing or what kind of day they were having. The young mother could’ve been being abused at home. The red-faced father could’ve gotten points at work for trying to take care of something for the teenager. Mr. Overalls could’ve been out of work. I just really don’t know! Finally, I know I haven’t behaved the best before and I want people to give me grace too. I generally do reflect later on my bad behavior and ask God to forgive me, as well as pray to make myself more aware of being kind to others. I have faced SO much unkindness and evil in my life, I am all about spreading kindness and joy! It’s my helper persona inside of my character, I suppose. Forgiveness is very freeing too. I ask forgiveness and pray that their day/situation becomes better. It’s all I really have control over. I had to stop trying to control situations years ago…

So, do yourself a solid and hand out forgiveness like Oprah did cars. It’s really more for you, than them…truly! Be blessed!