My beautiful travel mug, a gift from my boss, lay in pieces in the middle of 8th Avenue. It had managed to stay upright until my car hit the bump at the bottom of the driveway. Hearing a dull thunk, I glanced out the window and saw a strange cluster of white and blue fragments on the road. Too late, I remembered. I’d put my cup of wake-me-up (peppermint tea, that day) on my car roof while unlocking the car and stashing my work bags.
I’d started out late – just a bit – to pick up my eldest grandson for our mutual commute to work. Neither of us likes to be late for work, so I had rushed out to the car with no minutes to spare. My haste made waste, just as old King Solomon said in Proverbs 19:2.
Why, after all my years, am I still learning that lesson? Haste wastes not only with forgotten cups on car roofs. Rush makes mush of brains too sometimes.
Later the same day, I again rushed out to my car, this time to begin an hour-long drive to an unexpected appointment. I had just enough time. But checking my gas level, I realized I’d never make it to Preeceville on fumes.
“Pay inside before filling,” the sign on the pump read, a recent change at that station. Usually I’d paid after. Inside, I chatted briefly with one of my favourite attendants as my transaction processed.
A kilometre down the highway, I glanced down at my fuel gauge. To my surprise, the needle still pointed to empty. Then it hit me. According to my usual pattern, I’d left immediately after paying. But this time, because I hadn’t made enough of a mental note of the new process, I had an empty tank when I’d pulled away.
Embarrassed, I slunk back into the station and drew alongside the same pump. Behind the window, Denise watched as I climbed from the car. “It’s still waiting for you, love,” she called over the intercom.
I owe her flowers or chocolates or something. I didn’t even need to go in and reveal my red face.
The first part of Proverbs 19:2 contains a parallel caution. “Ignorant zeal is worthless,” it reads. Who hasn’t, at some point or another, rushed headlong to do (or say, or write, or remind someone of) something we felt vital? Without consideration, or prayer, or even as much as a deep breath?
When I think of all the efforts I’ve expended, all the words I have wasted doing just that, I shudder. If only I had thought first or put myself in their place. Instead, I have risked losing far more than a cup on my car roof, or a few dollars. I’ve risked relationship, all because I flung myself into action (no matter how well-intended) without taking time to think or pray. And like my shattered cup, not everything is repairable.
Lord, slow us…slow ME…down. For Christ’s sake.