I hate traffic.
It makes me frustrated, irritated, annoyed, angry.
Really it’s not the traffic that causes those emotions. If all cars, matatus, buses and lorries were driven by robots or remote control I probably wouldn’t feel those same emotions AND all the traffic laws and simple common courtesies would be followed.
It’s the people; the people that cut in front of me or drive up the wrong side of the road just to get ahead; the ones that honk their horns and edge me off the road; the ones that don’t obey simple traffic rules like red lights and stop signs; the ones that flash their brights blinding me in the night on dark roads.
I feel wronged. My sense of justice is violated and I get angry. Sometimes I get really angry.
The street urchins came to my window begging for money; these boys that run in gangs, sniff glue and refuse help that doesn’t come in the form of shiny coins or paper bills. I looked them in the eye. I tried in my heart to acknowledge them as God’s children. Then I shook my head and told them “no”. I’ve been told that giving money just increases the problem and I truly believe there are better ways.
Yet, on that day, I wish I had shelled out a few coins. Maybe then I wouldn’t have “lost it”. I wouldn’t have needed to repent. My Christian witness wouldn’t need to be repaired, patched up. It might have weathered the traffic that day, intact.
Instead my refusal made them upset. The rascals climbed on my truck, rocking it back and forth, yelling. Ignoring them was futile, the wall to wall traffic made it impossible to move away. I snapped. I yelled back. I made angry faces.
I definitely did not show the love of Christ. As soon as I had space to move I zoomed across the street into a grocery store parking lot and out the other side, ready to pull into the standstill traffic once a space appeared.
I escaped one set of nuisances only to run into another, impatient matatu drivers. I was frustrated and annoyed. The beeping turned into honking and I grew furious. When the driver came and banged on my window shouting at me to pull into traffic when I would clearly cause a jam. That’s when I really lost it. I banged right back and screamed at him.
Then I pulled into oncoming traffic. I raced up the wrong side of the road, crying angry tears, passing oncoming traffic and finally slid into an open spot in the gridlocked mess. The traffic and the devil won that day, I’m embarrassed to admit.
But for now, at least, that day has taught me to take deep breaths, calm down, pray and be a better witness on the road.