Some months ago, St. Rita’s pastor Father Dan Gee told parishioners that, no, God doesn’t really care as much as we think He does in the way(s) we think He does.
Father Gee was citing Luke 10, where Martha asked Jesus, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me by myself to do the serving?” He went into several examples of when someone might ask, “Lord don’t you care” – such as a nagging wife who cares more about her husband’s failure to paint a room as promised than her own lack of appreciation for the husband’s accomplishments. Likewise, he said the husband might be in the other room, asking God doesn’t He care that the wife is nagging — and Father Gee suggested that God cares more that the husband didn’t uphold his promise.
Father Gee also highlighted those who care more about the speed of the Internet than what they do with said Internet, and people in rush hour who ask God if He cares about the traffic — while they are beeping, cursing, and swerving instead of praying for a family member or saying a Rosary.
Many Arlington Catholics face these and similar challenges every day. But perhaps no challenge binds adults in this region more than rush hour.
For many of us, we become part of the problem. I learned to hate the small parking spaces and heavy traffic in Alexandria even though I rarely drove through rush hour itself. One friend had to ask me to “please stop judging the intelligence and character of people with whom [I] interacted with for a quarter of a second.”
When I asked her how to improve my mindset about bad drivers, she said that once someone no longer endangers her while driving, “I let it brush off me like a raindrop.”
That didn’t work very well with my busybody and blunt personality.
Later, when I got a job that required daily rush-hour driving, I regularly griped to my wife about the “idiots” and “jerks” who cut in and out of lanes, often endangering the safety of those around them. Even those who merely acted selfishly – going to the front of right-turn-only lanes before cutting left – instead of dangerously weren’t immune to my (self-centered) frustration.
I’ve focused more attention as of late on improving this harmful attitude. I’m still gossiping instead of griping, and observing bluntly instead of condemning.
In short, I’m still sinning. I’m taking Christ’s opportunity to say a Rosary or pray for careless drivers and turning it into an opportunity for Satan to tug me in the wrong direction.
Does the Lord care about rush-hour traffic? Maybe or maybe not. But he cares more about what each of us does with the opportunities provided in that traffic. As C.S. Lewis points out in Mere Christianity, every moment is an opportunity towards becoming an angel or a demon. Which do we choose?