You just never know...,
I pulled my car forward at the ATM drive-thru. It felt like I had been sitting there for a very long time. My business could have been done much more quickly had I just gotten out of the car and proceeded to the walk-up ATM but the air was cold, I was seven months pregnant with an eighteen month old in a car seat, as well as a ten year old and eight year old bouncing around in my mini-van. The stress level was high and I was a bit intolerant at that moment. All I wanted was some cash.
I pulled my vehicle closer to the automatic teller and slipped my card in, hoping there was even money in the account that could be withdrawn. As I waited for the ATM to spit out some cash, the driver behind me started honking. My first thought was that I had done something wrong. I quickly surveyed my dashboard and the area around my car. Everything looked ok, I continued with my banking - now more stressed than before. Another honk from behind and I lost it. I shouted an obscenity that only my kids could hear and quickly waved a crude gesture toward my back window.
As I looked in my rearview mirror, I recognized the vehicle and then my eyes focused on the driver as a sudden realization hit me. I had just flipped off the Bishop at my church. I sunk down in my seat and with utter mortification completed my transaction and moved on out of the parking lot as quickly as possible. I have since laughed about it many times, but during that humiliating moment, I thought I was going to die.
Because of the stress I was under, I had incorrectly assessed a situation and jumped to a wrong conclusion. In those brief moments, I couldn't understand why someone would have so little patience. And there I was, being impatient, myself and ultimately embarrassed. It was like a mom smacking a child while chastising, "No hitting!" It just shows how we never know.
You never know what will come back on you, what will be your short-lived legacy, your ill-fated reputation - should you allow stress and anxiety combined with a lack of decorum and tolerance to creep in, seep in, and get a hold of you. My Bishop never mentioned it and neither did I, we moved on and, I am sure, each of us hoped we truly had. Slow down in a moment that seems frenzied. Take a look around when the surrounding forces compel rash decisions. Listen to the observations of bystanders and/or participants. And guard against sudden actions - actions based on inaccurate/fuzzy details never end up well. And in the end, while you may never know, you do have control. Which translates into opportunity and brightness. And no more drive-thru ATMS.