The airport wasn’t that busy. Truth be told, the only hold up was at the gate where two flights just touched down, but outside of those two sections, it was pretty empty. The traffic was as mild as traffic gets at Orlando International. And yet, it still happened. I pulled in to pick up my sister, brother-in-law, and niece just a few minutes early. They had let me know that they were currently at baggage claim so it shouldn’t be long. I sat in one place for MAYBE two minutes when she started for me. The traffic lady, who never seems to be in a good mood, even on the lightest of days. With a scowl already plastered on her face, she stood in front of my car and told me to move. I tried. I really did. But honestly, she was standing in front of my car! I tried to wave her to please move, but she simply fussed at me more, now accusing me of pretending that I couldn’t hear her. I caved. I rolled down the window and yelled, “it would really help if you moved out of my way!” and drove off to circle back around.
I wish I could say that was the end of it. But, sadly, it’s not. My sister and niece met me back where I started (after circling twice more). They were waiting on the car seat. So, we said our hellos, put the bag that she had brought out with her in the trunk and had just put the stroller into the trunk when the other traffic lady came up. By this point, I was already annoyed by the previous women, who seemed to growl every time she looked at someone. Now, this other lady is walking up to me the second after I load the stroller in the car.
“You need to move your car. You can’t park here.”
I tried to reason with her. We just loaded up and we were just waiting for the car seat. It should only be a minute. I can’t drive with the baby without the car seat; he should be right out. The gas light just came on and I would really like to make sure we make it home rather than being stranded with two babies under a year old.
I saw that there were plenty of cars that, 1. did not have little children with them, 2. were not loading and were in fact parked and simply waiting, and 3. had been waiting much longer than I was. But she wasn’t fussing at them, she was fussing at me. She even threatened to write me a ticket! To make matters worse, my daughter started to cry. Now I was beyond annoyed, I was angry and I gave in to it.
Doesn’t it make you upset whenever you know what you should do but just can’t seem to do it? When I fussed at the first lady, I began praying, asking God why I did that when I knew that I shouldn’t. She may not be nice to me, but that does not give me reason to be nasty right back, if anything, it just fuels her fire and is not the way that Jesus has called me to live. With the second lady, it wasn’t necessarily her fault my daughter started crying, but I blamed it on her anyway. Paul hit the nail on the head when he said, ” I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. ” (Romans 7:15)
We are stuck in this perpetual cycle of messing up. I listened to a fantastic message on mercy yesterday (Jesus – A 50 Day Adventure, Part 5). I agreed with what was being said; I understood it. Then here I am, a little over 24 hours later, doing the exact opposite.
My purpose isn’t for myself. It is not to be right or to gain the upper hand in a pointless debacle with the grumpy traffic ladies working Orlando International. I don’t know what their day has been like and I can’t imagine having to work in that job for 8 hours. I would probably be very unpleasant as well. Mercy is having compassion or forgiveness shown toward someone it is within one’s power to punish or harm (Collin Outerbridge). I wasn’t merciful. I wasn’t salt.
It is so easy to give in to our sinful selves. It is easier to fight back than to turn the other cheek. It is easier to growl and yell than to smile and walk away. But God calls us to live a life above reproach. To live a life where we are salt of the earth, making people or situations better because we were there and allowed God’s light to pour through us.
Right now, I have asked for forgiveness in my spiteful response and unkind heart that showed no mercy. More than that, I have taken time to not just acknowledge that I was in the wrong but to fully understand my heart and how I was wrong at the root of the issue, not simply the surface.
I challenge you to look at your life and to live as God has called us. We are going to mess up, but it isn’t about the mistakes (like mine today), it is about addressing those weaknesses and allowing God’s strength to fill us and to make us better for the next time. The same power that raised Jesus from the dead resides in those who have Christ living inside of them. What we do with that power determines our direction and how much God can use us for His glory.