I usually find it very easy to feel slighted by my fellow sufferer. Take this morning. My typical morning route takes me on a road that expands and constricts along the route. At one intersection there are two lanes each way plus a turn lane, but a short distance beyond the traffic signal it quickly narrows to one lane in each direction. Most motorists seem to recognize this fact and patiently line up in the left of the two west-bound lanes. But occasionally—and it happened this morning—a car will pull up in the right lane when the light is red, obviously intending to continue forward and, at least from my perspective, cut in front of the patient motorists waiting in the left lane. This always irks me.
Or take last night. I ran to the local drugstore for Tylenol for my ailing son. It was ugly out. I had just finished my evening treadmill run and was feeling dirty in my sweats. I’m standing in the pain reliever aisle looking for something I later find out they don’t have when this woman cuts in front of me without so much as an “excuse me.” Admittedly, I was already in a foul mood so it didn’t take much to get under my skin, but in hindsight I’m glad I didn’t vocalize my irritation. But I was irked!
When I catch myself thinking bad things about the other motorist or the [marginally] rude shopper, I try to remind myself of the Lord’s Prayer admonition, “forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” not that I would call either “affront” a trespass. But this exercise isn’t always easy for me and the hard feelings don’t always disappear quickly.
But later this morning, while praying the Rosary, I snagged on the third Mystery, the crowning with thorns, and it forced my selfishness into a glaring spotlight. The reflection talked about Jesus’ suffering:
Think of the indignity, outrage, pain, and humiliation that Jesus suffered. They stripped Him of every dignity, He was treated as the guilt of our worst sins.
Imagine Jesus through the Sorrowful Mysteries: He Suffered His Agony in the Garden, was Scourged at the Pillar and then Crowned with Thorns, all the while anticipating the long and arduous journey to His execution under the burden of the Cross and then, ultimately, Crucifixion. And all for me. It really puts things into their proper perspective. So this guy gets to move ahead an extra four or five cars. So what! And what if that woman—she had been sniffling—was in a hurry to take care of a child sicker than mine or had her own health issues?
In the light of Christ’s suffering, these minor inconveniences—tiny slights—should be easy to bear if I take on the mantle of humility and accept small bits of suffering.
Let us ask the gift of patience to accept all humiliations, thinking of how Jesus suffered for us.