If you blow it, just start over

Published 9:15 am Wednesday, July 12, 2023

By Jan Penton-Miller

This morning I’m sitting at the local coffee shop. It’s always interesting to sit and people watch so I’m multitasking, per usual. A lady in the corner is working with her headphones on to drown out the noise, I imagine. A security guard waits patiently in line for his turn, and I stop to randomly speak to the passersby.

Many years ago I read a piece in a little book, which I have thought about many times since. The title was the Coffee Klatch, and it spoke to the propensity many of us have to share our grievances when we meet with our friends over coffee.

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At first glance this may seem harmless and maybe it can be cathartic, but it’s so easy to go from sharing a burden to just plain gossiping and/or complaining.

This morning the little devotional came to my mind when that aroma of freshly ground brew filled my nostrils. Just so happens the Sunday sermon I heard was also about our words and the power they hold for good or evil. So this morning I decided that today all my words and actions would be lovely.

After my quiet time I felt ready to tackle the day. I sat at the red light leaving my neighborhood and lifted my foot off the brake when the light turned green. Before I could even place my foot on the gas pedal the vehicle behind me blasted his horn. It wasn’t a gentle beep, but a loud honking as if I had sat there for forever instead of a second or two.

Mind you this morning on the heels of the powerful word from the pulpit yesterday I was ready to control that tongue of mine! But before I could roll ahead or even give it a thought I blasted my horn right back and began to grumble about the crazy rude driver. I went on to mention that he couldn’t be local, because we had better manners than that!

After a minute or two the realization smacked me in the face…I was just as rude as he was. Instead of thinking as I sometimes do, Well, you blew it today, I realized the day was young, and I could quickly repent and try again.

Repent you may be thinking? Isn’t that a pretty strong word? It almost sounds as if you think you sinned or something. But yes, that is exactly the word I was looking for.

It means to go in the other direction, and I truly do want to do that. When drivers are rude I want to be gracious. After all, we all have our moments. We never know what kind of day the other guy or gal is having, and they may be in an extreme hurry for some reason or other. I do think emergency flashers would be better than honking, but that’s just me.

I’m trying it again. So far so good, but the day is young.

Write to Jan Penton-Miller at jpentonauthor@gmail.com.