Have you ever done something you're not proud of?
It was a wet evening on a narrow in-street road.
There were houses on the left and more houses on the right hand side. A huge Lawma waste truck was occupying a large chunk of the narrow road to the right. An elderly woman sat behind a tray of ripe plantain just by the drainage on the left side, watching the cars wobbling along on the uneven road filled with random potholes and pockets of puddles.
The lady driver's back was ramrod straight and stiff at the same time as she reclined a little on the grey upholstered seat, one hand tapping restlessly on the armrest. She angrily stared the other driver in the face. He defiantly stared back gesticulating with his well worn hands and she could see his mouth forming some uncomplimentary words across the divide.
She was incensed. Who does this one think he is? Does he not realize he is at fault? Why wouldn't he just accept it, concede defeat and move back so she could pass to make way for the other road users already impatiently honking loudly behind her?
She stared a million daggers at him again willing him to accept his fault and gerrof the road. He stared jeeringly back, clearly enjoying his time in the limelight of the tiny community now amusingly watching the unfolding drama.
He had nothing to lose, having turned off the ignition and slouching lazily albeit insultingly by his van.
She had more at stake as she glanced briefly at the mirror to check on the boys, followed by a brief turn of her head to ensure the mirror was not playing a trick on her angry mind.
The older boy was taking in the whole scenario while the younger one dozed off, unable to make sense of it all.
She glanced swiftly down and smoothened the orange form fitting dress she had enthusiastically picked that morning. The day had dawned very bright and she had been so positive in the morning, having prayed for an opportunity to touch somebody's life positively in the course of the day.
Could there be anyone in this neighborhood that needs some 'positive touching'?
Not a half chance and not while she was this angry with the twin sense of injustice and self righteousness dancing around her head.
She was further enraged by the number of people flocking her end of the road, clasping their hands together, appealing to her to move her car and end the gridlock.
How could they? Couldn't they see what is at play here? Just because he's a man? Nonsense!
Position maintained. No shifting. No shaking.
As they were not making any headway with the two parties, the peace-makers turned to the waste truck which was the cause of the hullabaloo in the first place, appealed to the driver and he 'graciously' moved paving the way for both vehicles to slowly move in opposite directions to make way for the long line of vehicles behind them to also move on.
You guessed right, I was the lead actor. I had my way in the end but I was not proud of myself.
More aptly, I felt worse than s**t afterwards. Especially when D1 asked: Mummy, why are you angry and why did you shout at that man?
What did I just teach these little ones?
Mummy could not explain that she just descended to the level of a commercial driver just because she wanted to prove a point. #psychologicalfusion!
Mummy could not explain that she allowed her emotions override common sense.
Mummy could not explain that she just failed a maturity test back there.
Mummy could not explain that she felt worse than s**t as a result of what just transpired.
Mummy could not explain that she just displayed a dangerously low emotional intelligence back there.
Mummy could not explain that she lost a chance to give in for peace to reign and therefore might have lost a chance to influence someone positively in that neighborhood.
Mummy could not explain that she failed to walk the talk, she just lost a chance to be a role model.
With self realization came remorse; mummy was sorry even though it wasn't her making but she could have acted better than the commercial / damfo drivers. She was supposed to be educated, refined, calm and level headed. She should have reined in her emotion and exercised self-control.
But, nay. She didn't, she momentarily lost her prized self-control in that place.
“Like a city whose walls are broken down is a (wo)man who lacks self-control.” Proverbs 25:28 (NIV)
I don't want to be like a defenseless city with broken walls inviting cockroaches and rodents to come have a swell time...I never want to be 'that woman'...so, could we just turn back the hands of time a little in order to re-write that short story to end as it should?
Ehm, no. The past is gone, permanently.
She felt so heavy in her spirit that she had to go on her knees with a 5000kg worth of burden of guilt on her tiny 58kg frame...to speak with the One who she disappointed.
I got off light-headed and floaty almost feeling the fatherly, forgiving and understanding pat and I felt better because I've got another chance....and so do you.
Lessons learnt. Self control regained, hopefully permanently.
Sticky note to self: I cannot change the past but tomorrow is another day filled with 24 beautiful hours to get it right and be a better person than I was!
Have you ever done something you are not proud of?