Coming home after a long day of running errands, during which I felt like a captive spectator of the Rudeness Parade, I breathed a sigh of relief. Here there would be no disgruntled post office patron huff-puffing about the queue, no crazed driver nearly t-boning me in the street, nobody screaming profanities at restaurant management for a shortage of free tortilla chips. Peace at last!
I stepped into the bathroom ready to wash off the day’s negativity only to be welcomed by a grimy crunch underfoot. Cakes of dried mud and streaks of dirt littered the white linoleum. “Who just leaves around filth like this?” I fumed to myself. “If you make a mess, clean it up! Common sense! How can somebody be this inconsiderate? I’ve put up with enough today; I shouldn’t have to deal with this, too.”
As I mopped the floor, my mind buzzed with biting lines with which to confront the untidy culprit. The mess was so stark—how could they possibly have missed it? So stark, in fact, it looked as if it were under a spotlight. “Wait a minute. Why is it so bright in here?” Looking up, I saw a brand new light bulb in place of the one that had been dead for two weeks. My housemate had taken the initiative and changed it. The dirt speckling the floor had cracked off the bottom of their shoes as they mounted a tipsy stepstool to take responsibility for something I’d neglected.
Returning the mop, I realized my heart was in much worse shape than our bathroom floor. Focusing on negative things darkened my heart’s capacity to see true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy things around me (Philippians 4:8). I’d been so concerned with judging others’ poor behavior that I hadn’t recognized my own. Next time the Rudeness Parade rolls through town, I’ll stop for a second to consider my own performance in it, and find a brighter route home.
Megan L. Anderson is a freelance writer and editor whose sarcasm led her into youth ministry. She enjoys being caffeinated, watching the BBC, and thrift shopping.