Love Wins – a lesson I learned while stuck in traffic

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Love Wins – a lesson I learned while stuck in traffic

I drive a truck.  It’s my favorite vehicle that I’ve ever owned, and it has a sticker on the back that says “Love Wins.”  If you’ve ever seen me on the road I hope I was behaving myself, and that I was at least somewhere in the neighborhood of the speed limit!  This is a short story about that truck, love winning, and relationships with the people in our lives.

Love Wins
Love Wins

So I was on my way home the other day when a fender bender ahead of me was causing a bit of a traffic jam.  I was in the lane just behind the accident, and the police were directing everyone to merge left.  Some kind soul in a Jeep let me slide over in front of them, and there we sat.  And sat.  For what must have been measured in decades.  After several millennia, the traffic got moving again and I found myself daydreaming about all the things I was going to do when I arrived home.
My daydreaming was abruptly interrupted when an 18-wheeler went moseying past me in the empty lane on the right that everyone had long since evacuated.  Did he not see that he should have merged a while back?  I was incredulous.  Was this dude serious?  I know he wasn’t trying to skip ahead of me when I had waited my turn like everyone else, was he?  So I ignored him.  Blinker or no blinker, this guy wasn’t gonna get anywhere with me.  I wasn’t feeling as charitable as the folks in the Jeep who had let me in line.
Well, it turns out that this guy’s rig was bigger than my truck.  And he wanted in.  He wanted in so badly that he just started moving into my lane.  So I did what any self-respecting guy would do in my situation–I held my ground and kept creeping along in MY lane.  But the big rig just kept coming.  Sure enough, he was edging me out.  Eventually I ran out of room and ended up having to pull into the median to keep from getting squished.  It was at that moment I did something really out of character for me…  I laid on the horn and drove down the median.  Yep… “Mr. Love Wins” pulled right up to the cab of the rig that was now stopped in traffic again and motioned for him to roll down his window.  I just wanted to give him a piece of my mind.  Unbelievably the guy did roll down his window… and maybe even more unbelievably, I told him what I thought of his stunt and demanded to get back in front of him when traffic started moving again.  He defended himself at first, but eventually just laughed at me as I pulled back in front of him.  He must have gotten a kick out of my bumper sticker.
Okay, here’s what this has to do with relationships–I was upset about being edged out.  I felt disrespected and taken advantage of.  Does this sound familiar?  Surely I’m not the only one who has ever felt this way in one relationship or another.
Was I justified in feeling this way?  Heck yeah!  That dude just about ran me over!  It was probably good for me (typically an anger-swallower) to stand up for myself, even though my approach left a lot to be desired.  He was pushy and rude.  But here’s the thing… I had an opportunity to show the guy a little love in the beginning, before he was pushy and rude, and I passed that up.  He wanted in, he was asking for what he wanted (a-la his blinker), and I chose to ignore him.  It wasn’t like I had already let in a bunch of people… he was the first one that asked.  A little charity on my part would have been just as appropriate as a little patience on his.
Now, I’m not saying that I’m always going to let every 18-wheeler get in front of me.  I’m no doormat, and that’s not really my point.  What I AM going to do is become more and more awake to the opportunities I have to show love everyday.  I believe love is living, active, and transformative.  It’s amazing what a difference the smallest gestures of love make in people’s lives and relationships.  I want to be a part of that.  I want to experience loving my neighbor, because I think doing so is the heartbeat of how I was designed.  Love wins, because it’s what we’re made to do.  It’s the blueprint of our souls.  It’s healthy and good.  And I plan to get better and better at that for the rest of my life.  Who’s with me?
– Matt Thames

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