While out and about on Tuesday morning, I found myself furious at another driver. I was sitting at a light that just turned green, and the dented minivan in front of me wasn’t moving. I got frustrated and was muttering insults under my breath, reaching for the horn just when it finally moved. When I passed the car I glanced over to see a very weary-looking woman, rubbing her temples as if something troubling was on her mind. I felt so rude for almost honking. If she looked in her rearview mirror earlier she undoubtedly saw my aggravated expressions, clearly spelling out something like “You are an idiot and you’re annoying me!” in road-rage sign language.
Why was I acting like such a jerk? Because I was in a hurry.
I had just dropped the kids off at Mother’s Day Out and had scheduled about 10 hours worth of work to be done in the two hours I actually had, not to mention that I’d agreed to go to lunch with my mom even though I didn’t feel like I had time for it. I felt overwhelmed, like I was already so far behind that the extra eight seconds at that light could very well derail my entire life.
On the way home, imagining how I might have made that poor woman’s day worse with honking and obnoxious gesticulations over a stop light, I recalled an important lesson I learned a while back but had forgotten: I am always more tempted to sin when I’m overbooked.
When I lose my temper with the kids, more than half the time it’s because we’re late for something and I’m in a hurry; when I rush through my day without a thought of gratitude for the blessings that surround me, it’s usually because I’m just too busy to stop and take a breath; even just this morning I used a snippy tone with my husband when telling him about the ten whole minutes it took me to find something he’d misplaced…my exasperation because I felt like I just didn’t have that ten minutes to spare. I need to get this through my head:
Growing in holiness is a whole lot easier when you have some buffer in your life.
It looks like once again I need to take a hard look at all that I try to get done each week, and make the necessary (if painful) cuts to give myself some more room in the schedule so that I’m not tempted by anger when unexpected events cost me a little time. I have to do this every few months, I’ve noticed, as I slowly let little additions to my schedule and to-do list creep up to my ears and threaten to drown me.
This is a lesson I’ve learned before, like when I realized that I just might have a lot in common with the priest and the Levite from the Parable of the Good Samaritan, and when a wise priest gave me some of the most counterintuitive advice on being overbooked that I’ve ever heard. As with so many other important lessons, though, knowing it (and writing about it) is one thing…making the sacrifices needed to actually live it is another.