Just a few short days before the 2 ½ year anniversary of the wreck which paralyzed my teenage daughter, the son of the woman whose illegal U-turn left our daughter wheelchair-bound posted the following on social media:
“Is it a requirement or just a recommendation to drive like an expletive (I won’t repeat the word in print) to get a license in Ohio?”
Let me just put that in perspective, Dear Reader. This is the young man, who at age eighteen, left his cell phone at a rest stop on July 17, 2015. This is the same young man, whose mother, rather than simply driving down the highway and exiting at the next exit to retrieve his phone, instead illegally whipped her Ford Explorer horizontally across three lanes of highway traffic to access a NO U-TURN. This is the young man whose mother paralyzed my daughter.
And he was publicly commenting about idiotic driving moves which he’s apparently had to endure, as he stands, walks, and runs anywhere he chooses, and gets in and out of his vehicle with nary a thought.
Maybe you’ll understand why after reading his tweet, Dear Reader, it took me about an hour just to be able to breathe again.
I’ve chosen to take a few weeks to process it. I am reminded I never know what another human being has just heard or lived in his or her life. I certainly wasn’t in a real great mood for awhile after I read that tweet. When a person is a bit short or crabby with me, I must always try to offer him or her grace. I don’t know what heartache he or she is trying to overcome. I don’t understand what words might be playing on a continuous loop in his or her mind. That person may be upset, and it doesn’t have one iota to do with me or what is currently happening. I know I needed some grace from others after I read this guy’s tweet, and I certainly need to remember that when living life with other human beings. If I need grace, so do others.
I’ve chosen to take a few weeks to process it. I am reminded that our feelings are deceptive. Outright deceptive! We can literally spin anything to make it appear the way we want it to appear. This young man is swearing about drivers who have made bad driving decisions which have disrupted his life, and he honestly doesn’t think his own mother fits the bill of what he describes to perfection. Does he have any inkling of how paraplegia disrupts a life? And how many times have I done that exact same thing? I am ready to pound someone into the pavement for what that person has done, but I sure can conveniently and rationally exonerate myself or my loved ones for doing the exact same thing—or worse!
I’ve chosen to take a few weeks to process it. I am reminded that self-control wins the day. Dear Reader, if you don’t think I didn’t want to respond on social media and “school” this twenty-one year old for his words, well, think again. I wish I could tell you that when my “tree of life” was bumped, nothing but “good fruit” fell down, but that would be dishonest. The initial “fruit” that spilled forth was me wanting to respond bluntly and unkindly and give that man-child a piece of my mind.
I’m not proud.
But what good would it do? Quite contrary to popular current culture, battles are never won with a Twitter war full of anger and put-downs. Battles are won when restraint is shown, when self-control takes over, and when responses are based on wisdom and not on feelings. (And frankly, a lot of times wisdom means not responding at all.)
Do I wish this young man would think before he posts? Absolutely! Do I think it’s incredible that he can so readily criticize other drivers and conveniently not mention how his own mother’s actions paralyzed a fifteen year old girl? Sure do! Do I think anything about the whole situation is fair and makes sense? Nope! But I can’t control this young man. I can only control myself.
About ten minutes after I read his post, I thought there were several lessons he needed to learn. Funny. After I chose to take some time to reflect and process, I realized, like always, I too had a few lessons of my own to learn.
I can’t control him. I can only control myself. Only myself.
Until next Wednesday, Lord willing, when a new feature will be introduced to the blog. I guess you could call it, “Story time with Amy J.!” Thank you so much for reading.