Few things have the power to derail my day like vehicular profanity.
Picture me sitting at the off ramp from the highway where we are supposed to merge within 50 feet with the oncoming traffic. I come to a stop and the truck behind me engages in a litany of horn sounds which communicate displeasure at my driving decisions. This is the essence of vehicular profanity.
It could be the off ramp or the stop light or even on the road itself. But whenever vehicular profanity is exhibited to me it only communicates anger and impatience. I find myself responding in kind, yelling to the car behind me saying, “What do you want me to do? Pull into oncoming traffic?!”
I think what I hate the most is that I am unable to respond like I want to. It is a one sided conversation where the angry party will never understand why I made the decisions I did. Perhaps they couldn’t adequately see around the corner to see oncoming traffic. Maybe they didn’t realize I was swerving to miss an animal in the road. It angers me because I can’t explain myself. Vehicular profanity derails my day because it is not a conversation, there is no understanding. It is only anger.
The same thing can happen in verbal conversations as well. Whenever I feel unheard or the conversation is one-sided, it has the same effect in my heart as vehicular profanity. As humans, one of our deepest longings is to be heard and known. One-sided conversations don’t allow that. That’s why they have such power; they are negating a desire in our hearts. As my friend Laura always reminds me, “Friendship is a two-way street.”
So the next time the driver behind me decides to share his noisy opinion about my driving, I will use that moment to remind myself that I do long to be heard and known, and to be thankful that there are other people in my life who can fill that need.