Such a small effort to be above average

I was sitting at a stoplight yesterday behind two women who seemed to be having a pleasant conversation with the man in the car next to them. It was a beautiful day, and their windows were down. I was listening to the radio, so my windows were up, and I couldn't hear what they were saying, but I wondered if they knew each other and were taking this brief moment chance to catch up.

Then the light turned green, and to my utter astonishment, the woman in the driver's seat gave the man the finger and stepped on the gas. Both women extended an arm out the window with middle fingers prominent as they drove on.

My mouth dropped open. I almost could not move forward, I was so shocked. Then I was really sad, just sad for a culture that is so ready to be bitter and hateful and crude, crude to the core. Ready to start a fight, ready to curse instead of bless, ready to engage in the worst of human emotions. That two beautiful women could drive away with such a vulgar display, probably terrifically proud of themselves, just made me hurt for their ignorance. They don't know they are crowned with glory and honor by a Creator who loves them, so they imitate the only model they know: the snake who keeps them blind to this truth.

Every interaction in the day has opportunity for glory or for dirt. Dirt can be filth and grime, and wallowed in with utter depravity; sometimes it's just average, plain old stuff that I brush up against accidentally in a white shirt, messing up a lovely picture. Glory, on the other hand, is cleansing. Glory is the soft answer when others want to be hard. Glory is patience with an unkind clerk, a rude waitress, a snippy customer service rep. Glory is being able to stay disconnected from the ravings of a vicious boss or a terrorist coworker.

It takes a little more effort to respond with glory than with dirt, because dirt is what we are, and it's easier to follow one's nature. It takes a little effort to do glory, and some people can't do it at all because they have no concept of it whatsoever, much less the capacity for it. But in that moment where one feels instinct coming on like a flood, glory is the pause that changes the course and takes the situation from the average to the above average, and sometimes to the transcendent. When someone tries to start an argument, instead of engaging, glory pauses and, in its highest expression, hears the other person's struggle and speaks to it.

This is so rare. I wished for those two women that they would be pulled from the dirt. May we all consider how little effort it takes to rise to glory.