Don’t Take It Personally

By Engr. Carlos V. Cornejo

One time I was driving in Lahug, Cebu City and took a left turn in the corner of Sanjercasvil Road when suddenly there was a long and loud horn from the car behind me.  The driver behind me was pissed off because it took me some time to make a left turn, and apparently, he was in a hurry (some people are always in a hurry and some are in a hurry to get into an accident – joke intended).

The delay was just a few seconds because I’ve just arrived at the corner to make a turn.  I have to admit that I was a bit late in turning on my signal light and it must had been the cause of his temper to blow.  After he went ahead me, he slowed down, opened his window and gave me the finger.  Instead of getting mad, I just laughed.

I’ve learned from a wisdom email I received a long time ago that some drivers are like garbage trucks.  They are full of trash.  And they want to dump their trash on others.  You will get a share of their trash if you get mad as well.  You can avoid their trash by smiling at them.  By doing so you let their trash remain with them.   You don’t take it personally because you know  you are not the problem.

Better yet take it spiritually.  Regina Brett, author of the book, “Be the Miracle” says, “Every experience, no matter how mundane or small, contains a lesson, a gift, a blessing if we take it spiritually, not personally.  It doesn’t matter if it’s a job loss, divorce, speeding ticket, or health scare.  Ask yourself, ‘What’s the lesson here?’  Learn it, practice it, be grateful for it, and move on.”  Perhaps the spiritual lesson with my encounter with that irate driver was to practice patience, and understanding with others.  I was telling myself that time, “Poor guy, he must be up to his neck with his problems”.  I prayed that he would take his problems spiritually too.

Everything in our life has a spiritual dimension. It’s not just when we are inside a church, reading the Bible, praying the rosary, or meditating.  Many of us would just look at things humanly.  We would then easily get thrown off when sometimes things don’t go as we expected or planned.   Many believe in the saying, “Things happen for a reason”.  It’s true but only if you believe in Romans 8:28. But there is a pre-requisite to this Scripture passage, it applies only for those who love God or those who put God into everything they do.  For those who don’t, they will see bad events as bad luck or them being a victim of blind chance.  Whereas “For those who love God, everything works together for the good.” (Rom 8:28) And what is that good?  Of course, spiritual good: sanctity, holiness, or a closer relationship with God.

Perhaps the event is teaching you not to rely on created things for your joy and consolation but only in God.  When the covid-19 pandemic struck, it deprived us with the many luxuries we used to have, many got depressed and could not adjust.  At the same time, in Iran, many Muslims got converted to Christianity during the pandemic.  Staying at home made them look closer at Christianity and found the truth in it.  Perhaps, the rest of us should have done the same, because any calamity or misfortune, is an invitation to be more close to God and seek our happiness in Him alone.  Things can easily be taken away from us, the pandemic has proven that.  For those who lived only for those things the loss could be devastating.  But for those who live for God nothing can take away God from them.  “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38-39)