The world is not all bad. Hear me say that. There is a lot of good.
But, seriously, something nasty must've crept into the spring water this year cause people are not at their best right now.
In fact, my dad recently said, "Jenny, the world is full of freaking crazy people... and most of them are in church," and y'all, this is the most true thing I've heard in a long time!
Examples of the Crazy
I sit down in first class for my two hour flight home this week. I buy cheap tickets, I promise. But I fly so often that I get free upgrades. Thus, in first class. Sitting next to a man who sort of looks like George Clooney on a million dollar budget. Snake skin boots. Three separate rings on with diamond studs. Thick cologne. And a dead give away of self-indulgence: perfectly manicured nails.
I'm sorry men, but if you have perfectly manicured nails you have just given yourself away. You care way too much about appearance. Double standard, I know. No one would ever say that to a woman! And it may not even be true for men... but it is my prejudice.
Dudes with perfect fingernails have either too much money or too much free time and definitely too much thought going into their hands.
Anyways, first thing outta this guys mouth?
He said this with a disdain, snobbery, and anger that really took me off guard.
"I am supposed to be in 5b. Do I look like I want to sit in a bulkhead seat? But, one of those stupid married couples asked to switch seats and practically did it before I could say no. This. Just. Sucks. Life sucks."
No, actually, life is pretty dang good, maybe your life just sucks.
That's what I said to him in my head.
He spent the first fifteen minutes on the plane telling me about himself. 2.4 million American Airline miles. 5 million Hilton Honors points (for those of us in the travel world who live and breath our reward points, this man has us drooling. He is the pinnacle). A hotel room in Dallas that he never even checks out of. And a third wife in a New York brownstone, but he prefers to travel alone if "you know what I mean."
Oh my gosh... this guy is a word I am going to refrain from using. He is oozing with anger, arrogance, and attitude and he is messing up my positive energy field!
I turned my body towards the window. Wrapped myself up in about three blankets and tried to look for stars the entire flight. He made me sad. My heart felt sad.
Freaking rich people in first class. But this is not a money issue. This is an everybody issue.
We were recently unloading a cramped minivan in front of a restaurant at lunch time. We were, admittedly, right in front of the door. But, there was plenty of room to drive around us. And, we are not talking a busy Dallas restaurant. We were in a smaller town in Indiana and there was no lunch rush. The parking lot was rather empty. Still, we are being dropped off and trying to get six adults, backpacks, and Annie out of the minivan because we are going to be at this place a while.
A lady pulls up behind and waits impatiently. I motion for her to go around and she just glares at me while thumping her fingers against her steering wheel. It's pretty obvious that we are going to be just a few minutes but she refuses to go around. She starts to honk. Of course, this scares Annie and she practically jumps out of my arms. We go inside to get a table and while they are getting it together for us this lady walks in. "Oh great. Now the whole world gets to wait on you and your baby again, huh?"
I'd love to say this is where we, Addison Road, turned the other cheek like Jesus would do. But my husband, ever the protector and particularly tired of rude people on that day, shot back, "You need to stop. There was plenty of room to get around us and we were going as fast as we could to get everyone out. We have a baby."
Y'all, this lady flings her sunglasses off and gets in Ryan's face!!! It's 11:00 a.m. in the morning and I swear we are on Maury Povich or Judge Judy or wherever those staged nasty horrible cat fights happen. I'm holding Annie, trying to walk away, but I am stunned. This woman starts dropping all kinds of profanity and threats and looks like she might hit Ryan at any second. And ends by yelling, "The world doesn't revolve around you and your ________ baby. I could've just hit you with my car. Then what happens to your baby!?!?!" And she storms off to the bar.
I mean, my heart is pumping. Blood racing. Hands shaking. I am so angry. The guys are white in the face. What just happened?
We just had a can of crazy opened on us! That's what happened!
And can I honestly say, I cannot think of a time in my life where I have wanted to take someone outside. But everything in me wanted to hand Annie to someone and say, "Excuse me, you need to walk outside. Because I am not afraid of you and you just scared my baby you CRAZY PSYCHO WOMAN."
It was one of those days where you go before the Lord and have to hang your head because you were less than holy and had less than holy thoughts and did not respond to life in a way that brought goodness into the world... and I'm making it sound really pretty... it was one of those days where I had to honestly look at myself and say, "Wow, I have a lot of venom in me. Maybe as much as her."
The guys stayed angry for a good long time. All through lunch. Fuming. Replaying the whole thing. Coming up with things that they should've said. And everyone was imaging Ryan or I taking her on outside like we were on some dirty reality talk show. This at least gave us something to laugh about.
The guys were riled up, but I was sad. I was crushed Annie had heard that lady. And I was crushed she saw us even respond- mild though it was- and crushed that she could probably feel the anger flowing through my veins. I was sad that Annie saw the face of anger. I wish I could've protected her from it for a little bit longer. I was sad for the lady. There has to be a terrible thing happening in someone's heart for them to get to that level. I was sad for Ryan and I that we stooped to the level of responding to this lady. I was just sad for everyone involved.
It's not supposed to be like this, is it?
There's a lot of ugly out there.
Are people getting meaner? Are we so consumed with ourselves and so hell bent on our own rights, privileges, and agendas that other people no longer matter? And more importantly, what deserves our anger, wrath, and simple annoyance?
A parking spot? Someone who cuts us off on the highway? A loud talker at Starbucks? The person on the other end of the phone line doling out bills? The person walking too slow in front of you? Or too close behind you? Or the co-walker who doesn't do their fair share? The person that updates Facebook too often? Or the friends that take extravagant vacations? The neighbor's kids who seem to be lawless? Or the lady at church that has five prayer requests every single Sunday? The Internet that doesn't go fast enough? Or the decision you don't agree with?
Are these things worth fighting for? Do they really deserve anger, wrath, and all-consuming annoyance? Or are these the complaints of an over-indulgent, self-centered, narcissistic society that has lost touch with what it means to be human?
One of our pastors asked us a few weeks ago, "Do you really think the elevator is going to go any faster by pushing the inanimate button several times, sighing, and getting angry with it?" I laughed and thought, "I hate it when people do that!"
Next day I was at the airport with Annie, outside in the hot sun, and waiting for the elevator. I pressed the button three times and grumbled out loud, "Good Lord. This is the slowest elevator in the world....uggggghhhh."
And then I heard my pastor's voice... "Church, we are an impatient people. And it's not ok."
We are an impatient people. I am impatient.
The world is full of orphans, disease, injustice, corrupt governments, human trafficking, lack of clean water and sanitation... and we are hacked because our Starbucks drink took too long to be made?
Something is gravely wrong.
Tough Topic Tuesday...
What's wrong with us? And when does it end? After fists have been drawn or bullets have been blown? After we have wounded someone with our snide comments? After we have driven people out of our churches? Or haunted someone with our piercing gaze and stolen a bit of their humanity?
Impatience leads to anger. Impatience screams that we are so important, so entitled, that the world should operate on our watch, on our terms. Impatience says that we have not found peace... that there is something missing.
There is a pervasive selfishness in the world right now that is literally stealing our souls away from us.
The thing is, religion is on the rise. Islam and Christianity are exploding around the world. Spirituality is on the rise. The practices of yoga, meditation, and the reading of sacred texts from all different religions is on the rise People are getting progressively more entangled with God, spirituality, and religion... so shouldn't we be looking more and more like the God that we say we worship?
I'll end with this quote from CNN's, July 12th, belief blog written by professor Richard T. Hughes,