I failed at Lent.
The past few years I’ve observed Lent in various ways: going off social media, not judging my husband’s slovenly man cave, and tackling my biggest most besetting sin, the DWR: Driving While Righteous.
It’s easy to get outraged on the LA highways; people drive like there’s no god to judge them. I take up the slack, waving a finger at people who are on their phones, or texting, or trying pass me in the emergency lane.
But each Lent I’ve sensed God waving his finger at me: let it go.
And I have. But three Sundays before Easter, some idiot passed us in a curved tunnel at 80 miles an hour, then cleared the tunnel and swerved from the left lane into a right-lane exit.
Not a minute later, a bozo in the right lane cut everyone off with a left turn.
I’m sure there’s some Francis Schaeffer illustration about how the whole “God Is Dead” thing has finally trickled down from the philosophers to the culture to the drivers. But me? I was driving like the Buddha.
That afternoon, one of my dearest friends came over.
CJ and I have a long history: roommates, best friends, a falling out and a long rapprochement. We repaired our friendship, and I would never want to repeat the same mistakes. She’s far too important to me.
CJ and I ran some errands.
As I got off the freeway a large Mercedes started tailgating me. It attempted to pass me on the turn. Now on the street, the Mercedes sped ahead, cut in front of another car and made a sharp turn right. The same direction we were going.
There was the jerk, idling at a light, and we were headed for the left-hand turn lane.
“Please, let his window be down,” I said out loud.
It was. I rolled down the passenger-seat window and leaned over CJ to look at the driver. It was a young man with two women in the car. A rosary hung from his rearview. I asked him if he drove that way because (insert something Seth Rogen would say in a Jud Apatow movie.)
“Are you having a good day?” he smiled.
Yes, until he pulled that stunt.
“You have a great car and lovely women in it. Don’t jeopardize their lives or mine. Kay?”
“Your light is green,” he replied.
We turned. CJ laughed nervously.
“I’m so sorry, CJ. That was not cool for me to do.”
Her laughter died down. “I’m just afraid you might say something like that to me some day.”
Far worse than breaking my Lent promise or chewing out someone I’ll never see again or ruining my own peace of mind, my righteous indignation hurt someone dear to me—someone whose friendship has been long in the making and repairing.
And now I have to regain her trust.
What’s that pesky sin or character defect you hold onto?
What has it cost you in terms of relationships of peace of mind?
Is it worth it?