The car in front of her suddenly stopped. She ran into it; her car was totaled. She was glad not to be hurt more than she had been—bruises, confusion, perhaps other things; I think she had been hospitalized for a bit. How did it happen? “The driver in front of me dropped her cell phone and hit her brakes.”
I didn’t have the heart to say it, but I thought: maybe you were driving too close?
There are things more important than parsing out fault, although that has its own importance. At least she was alive and, as far as I know, so is the other driver. Sometimes they aren’t.
You can imagine a scene. Two people in the car, angry with each other over a matter that’s been between them all afternoon. He’s a teenager, unwilling to do something; she’s the driver; they’re going back and forth, relentlessly. The thing that’s bothering them is not a big deal, it’s the usual sort of thing that gets into families.
And then the unexpected car in the middle of the intersection; there is no time to react, no way to avoid the crash.
Afterwards, they are so glad to be alive. The other driver isn’t.
You would not want your last words to someone in your family to be words of anger. But we never know: this might be our last conversation. So the Apostle writes, “Be angry, but do not sin.” He continues: “do not let the sun go down on your anger.” I take him to mean that there is a place for anger, but there is also a time to put it to bed.
You can imagine parent and son leaving that accident with a new perspective on their disagreement. I can be angry with someone I love, but I need to be sure that person knows the love and not only the anger.
In the meantime, may we drive carefully, courteously, and without phones.
Out & About. This Sunday, February 4, I am teaching on the Song of Songs at St. Matthew’s Cathedral, 5100 Ross Ave., Dallas. The class is at 9:30 a.m. The following Sunday I will be preaching at the 8 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. services there.