Last year my family was living in a community just around the corner from Focus on the Family. I remember one particular evening Jean needed to go shopping after dinner. I offered to hang out with the boys while she ran errands. I should point out it was already dark by the time Jean backed the minivan out of the driveway . . . right into our neighbor’s car across the street.
Jean wasn’t distracted or in a hurry. She just didn’t anticipate a vehicle parked by the curb. After all, our neighbor never parked his car on the street. Calling from the car, still shook up by the incident, Jean said, “Jim, I think I hit the neighbor’s car. Can you go check for me?”
Armed with a flashlight, I looked for evidence of the crash. Nothing. Not a scratch. Jean was relieved to hear the good news. The next morning I opened the garage door and went back outside to see if I’d missed anything. As I studied the car, my neighbor approached and asked what was wrong. I explained. Neither of us could find any damage. That’s when my neighbor looked across the street at our minivan in the garage and, with a broad smile, pointed to a giant dent in the rear end.
He said, “I think I won that one!” We laughed it off and went on about our business.
Back home, I explained what had happened and resisted the temptation to tease Jean for her carelessness. Outwardly I didn’t say anything negative. No condescending tone. Inside my mind – that was a different story. I admit I was feeling pretty smug. I confess I had a superior attitude. You know, I thought how much better of a driver I was . . . that’d never happen to me, blah blah blah.
Fast forward one year.
We now live in a home with a little more space for the boys to run around and more room to entertain friends. This particular evening we were having a dinner party for about twenty guests. As the visitors departed after a fun evening, I figured I’d move our cars into the garage to make it easier for our guests to depart. I hopped into the minivan and started to back up . . . right into my own car! I couldn’t believe it.
I bashed BOTH of our cars.
Me, Mr. Safe Driver. Me, Mr. Smug.
My first thought was, “How am I going to tell Jean?” After weighing the range of excuses, I decided full disclosure was the better part of wisdom – I had to own my carelessness. I went inside and said, “Jean, you won’t believe what I just did!” and then proceeded to tell her the truth – not just about my accident, but also about my poor attitude a year ago.
Jean was so gracious as she listened. I didn’t detect a trace of haughtiness in her spirit. I’d say my experience gives new meaning to Proverbs 18:12a, which says, “Pride first, then the crash” (The Message).
Does God have a sense of humor, or what?