Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Deceived by Complacency

As I sat in my car at Wal-mart a few weeks ago I noticed a man pouring something into his gas tank. I was checking messages on my phone when I noticed him. I don't know anything about cars, really, so seeing him pour something in his tank caught my attention.

What he did next surprised me and I have been thinking about it off and on since.

When he was finished emptying the container, he dropped it and kicked it under his car. Then, he got in his car and drove away.

It's one thing to litter. It's another thing to kick trash under your car, as if to hide it, and then drive away.

I was stunned by the hilarity of the situation. It also irritated me.

As I picked up the empty fuel booster container and took it to the trash, I found myself thinking, "Don't judge him, learn from him."

I have been considering the situation for weeks, trying to figure out the lesson for me. I have to admit I have had a terrible time evaluating myself compared the man at Wal-mart. My disdain of his actions made it hard for me to look for a parallel in my life. Did the man leave Wal-mart feeling good? Was he satisfied because he was taking care of his car? He gave no thought to his surroundings. He did not consider the absurdity of kicking his trash under his car and then driving away. He did not think about or care about who might be watching him. At some level, he was deceiving himself. He may have convinced himself that he was being responsible. He may have been so self-absorbed that he didn't think anyone was watching.

I need to be more honest with myself.

Am I so self-absorbed that I do not pay attention to the needs around me?

I often deceive myself.

I can take care of my children and fail to provide basic needs for myself like rest and proper nutrition.

I can spend ample time counting my blessings and forget to spend time thanking God.

I can convince myself that I am a caring person when I have not tended to the details of reaching out to others.

I can spend too much time feeling blessed and too little time cultivating a giving heart.

To others, my wrong-doings may seems just as obvious as the man littering.
Without question, I am an open book to God. He knows my heart better than I do.

I was focused on the ignorance I saw at Wal-mart. The treasure from that moment is realizing that I am not always honest with myself. Too often, I go through my days in a state of unrecognized complacency. The beauty in the trashed parking lot is the renewed desire for me to keep chiseling away at the selfishness of my heart.


Beth E. said...

This is really good! I've never really thought about learning something from an aggravating/irritating situation. Thanks for a real eye-opening post. :o)


Eyeglasses & Endzones said...

Great mind set! I have to say that a long time ago, I was a really really bad litter-er (is that a word) but it became very obvious to me when my then (3) year old told me not to throw things out the window....since then, I guess I don't judge people..but just like you, I pick up after them. It is a great idea to learn from his mistake...and I am sooo glad that I learned from mine!

He And Me + 3 said...

Wow...Jane that was a very thought provaking post. i would have been mad at the man & judged him too. Thinking how rude and thoughtless he was. You took something from a could have been bad situation and learned from it. I love when God does that in our hearts and lives. Thanks for sharing.

Alicia said...

My husband cannot stand litterers at all! If he was you in the car, he would have been annoyed to the max!

It's awesome how you turned that situation to a lesson for yourself! I need to do that more!! :)

Elaine at Matters of the Heart) said...

What a wonderful post. It is so true when a situation or person bothers you, there is usually something in it we can learn from. I am so glad you turned this around. I love what your found in your thinking.

Joyce said...

This post gave me lots to think about.

sarah said...

Good reminder!

Sarah Mae said...

Well, this is certainly a convicting post! Especially the part about not judging but rather learning - whew! Good stuff!

Carey-Life in the Carpool Lane said...

Girl...you are deep! Great thought-provoking post!

Carey-Life in the Carpool Lane said...

Hey Jane Anne,
I've got a 'green' award for you at my place. The code is at the very bottom of the post...