“So we are down to 2 cars, safe, but we ministered to someone by allowing God’s gentle spirit to keep us calm so that he could release his frustration on us.” -Godines
Have you ever just thought about what it must be like for those who zoom by you raging with words and lingo that for a moment soothes their ability to keep moving? The temptation is to self soothe in the midst of a trying time when things are not going according to YOUR own plan. Aha! I think I know why. It was a self-made plan without a self-help manual. Usually self-made decisions and actions don’t make it past rationalization. They pretty much stop at the fight or flight and flee into action. That would be your sympathetic system at work. When we trust God, we connect in Spirit through patience, discernment and most often the movement is towards the parasympathetic system where it is slow to speak and quick to listen. Recall our Father clearly gives us wisdom to navigate through difficult and trying situations.
19 My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, James 1;19 (NIV)
Dave my husband is an awesome brave and loving husband and I am so proud of the way he handled and protected us Thursday morning. He set the bar high by being calm and apologetic even when he had done nothing wrong.
As we do every Thursday morning, he drives me to work, same route, same time so that I can pick up my car and head to Victoria for a long day ahead of me. My joy is in that morning commute with him. We listen to KLOVE, share conversation, exchange our day plans ahead of us and share a song or two. Well upon the drive, his car begins to shake as if to turn off. Dave managed to keep the car from turning off at the lights but it was a frustrating struggle. His car had been running just fine but this morning it had some trouble receiving the signals to stay on and he was toggling between the gas and breaks to keep it from stalling. So as we are but just a few blocks from work, a motorcycle is behind us and begins to rem up his engine, to which I am completely naive to….(me thinking something must be wrong with the engine behind us…wow no one’s car is working this morning), anyhow, as Dave is focused on keeping the car on……… this very tall tough angry person zooms right by us and stared at us. It was evident at this point that he was angry with our car situation.
“Hun, I think he’s angry with us because our car is not working…” Dave says: “no its okay, I think that’s my friend. I think I know him.” Well the guy gets right in front of us and parks his bike blocking us in on a green light. My sweet brave husband waving thinking his friend is gonna help us, rolls down the window still waving and smiling thinking it is someone he knows, and the inappropriateness begins. The not so loving man began to accuse us of purposely braking in order to intentionally infuriate him (Not in those words…his words were much more colorful and aggressive). When Dave explained that we were having car trouble, the man then accused Dave of using that as an excuse and a cop-out to avoid the fight, and he continued to state that he was purposely trying to hit his bike. The check engine light then turns on, car struggles, man pretty much stayed around the “f” slang version of expressing his peace while we managed to drive away unharmed but traumatized from the morning incident. Dave still leaned out his window and said, “sir I’m sorry, I’m having car problems here.”
My first experience with aggressive confrontation….. Dave handled it so well! It is possible that this man was already having a rough morning and according to the law of the garbage truck, sometimes we get the opportunity to minister to others by allowing others to dump it on us, especially in unsafe situations. I just want to point out that road rage is dangerous and I am so blessed to be married to a Godly man who set the example for how we should respond when confronted with danger.
As the day progressed, I suggested that he have his car checked and it was indeed in need of repair, then a couple of hours later he receives the call that the engine exploded. Thank you God that we were not in the car when this happened and no one was hurt. So the car is gone, died, kapoot….. So we lost his car Thursday morning and he will need to purchase a new motor. Wow, was his spirit down yesterday.
In one day we had experienced a morning trauma as neither Dave nor I are confrontational, the loss of a vehicle, and even more stories of loss.
So we are down to 2 cars, safe but we ministered to someone by allowing God’s gentle Spirit to keep us calm so that the ‘not so happy’ man could release his frustration on us and move forward into his day.
I tell you what…..My husband is my hero! He set the bar high in how to respond in situations of road rage. As a counselor, he did exactly what I would have encouraged my clients to do after having worked with them for several weeks of anger management….. My honey relied on God and NOT on being tempted to defend in an angry manner.
We certainly trusted Him in our time of stress, and we will not and were not tempted to handle this ourselves.
New International Version (NIV)
13 When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; 14 but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. 15 Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.
By the way, have I mentioned that this man was tough, big and mean looking….(I was a little scared, shaken, heart pounding) BUT…… My honey was braver and stronger as he was armed with the armor of Christ! I think we won this battle : )
How to respond to Road Rage:
- Don’t engage with rage. (Let the Holy Spirit handle it!)
- By letting them “win” you could short-circuit any further problems. If the other driver begins to drive recklessly, slow down and change your route. The last thing you want is to be in a traffic accident with this person.
- It can be natural to want to respond with anger, but when you do, you become involved in an escalating battle. This fails to work to anyone’s advantage. This adds danger for you, your spouse,others in the car, your children and it can traumatize a family.
- Never leave your car. You can roll-up your windows and lock your doors and this will put good reinforced steel and fairly thick glass between you. This alone does not ensure your safety, but it will act as a buffer. If the other driver begins to follow you, do not drive to your home or place of work. If you know the location of the local police or fire station, this is your best option. If that is not an option, drive to a busy public place such as a grocery store (many have security now) but do not drive into enclosed spaces such as parking structures. Look for police help along the way.
DO NOT ROLL DOWN YOUR WINDOW!
- Immediately dial 911
- Remember when speaking to police dispatch, tell them all you can about the vehicle/motorcycle and the driver.
- Rarely count on the local police to help you. Sorry I am not saying this to attack but the reality is this is NOT often a priority and your safety IS! If you don’t think you’re getting the attention you need, do whatever it takes to keep yourself safe.
- Turn on your hazard lights. (we now have re-evaluated the situation and next time we are in a predicament, we will turn on our hazard lights especially when we hear engines remming up).
- Your safety is important!
- Wives, don’t add to the situation. If husband is explaining, reasonably and gently, let him continue. DO not try to add a situation that would require your husband to save you on top of saving himself!
- After the incident, when you’ve calmed down, reexamine the events that took place. It doesn’t matter what you or he/she did or whose fault it is, try to figure out what you can do differently next time to avoid dealing with lunatic road ragers’.
As for us, we lost Dave’s car…… but we are safe and what a reminder to safety within a world where so many are lost.
Love & Hugs -Marie
- Let it go, let the other person “win.”
- Change your route.
- Stay in your vehicle.
- Never drive home if someone is following you.
- Drive to the local police station or firehouse.
- Dial 911
- Do whatever it takes to keep yourself safe, but do not endanger anyone else’s life.
- Reevaluate the events and try to figure out what you can do differently next time.
Spend today in reflection in James 1 veres 1-27 Arm yourself with Godly wisdom.