So, there I was, driving back from yoga feeling quite zen and self-congratulatory. Sure, I had a bit of bumpy week, not really putting all the love and sunshine in the world as I had intended…sure I’d been nasty and dismissive to the kids a few times and watched television when I should have cleaned and maybe drank a little too much hard liquor, but I had been to Sunday morning yoga and was feeling cleansed and calm and ready to start a new week as a nice person.

Then, a motorcycle rally happened. I pulled up to a stoplight just 3 minutes from home, and the police had shut down the intersection. Motorbikes began pouring through the thoroughfare by the dozens. At first I was amused and thought zen-fully to myself, “Oh how cute. A Memorial weekend motorbike ride!” I congratulated myself on my long-suffering and forbearing nature.


Then, dozens turned into hundreds and I began to feel annoyed and claustrophobic. My newly found serenity began to dissolve into dust around me.


I found myself cursing motorbikes.

And motorbike riders.

And the city who would allow a major intersection to be shut down.

And the police officer who clearly could have let us pass through.


As the hundreds of bikes turned into 1000, and 2 minutes turned into 20, I pulled out my phone and googled what this could possibly be.


It was a rally to raise money for abused and neglected children.


Guess what? I was still annoyed.


And then I realized what a hypocritical jerk I was.


I’m proud of the fact that I spend a good majority of my life seeking out opportunities to help and be of service to people. I want to be kind and good and generous. That is, until it inconveniences me. As one of my favorite authors said,

“…I go around feeling like the world is a gigantic baby with AIDS, and I try to bring some humanity to that in my lurching and imperfect way, like a candy striper with corns and PMS. And I do pretty well – until I have to spend time with Jesus in his distressing guise as [ “X” – insert annoying thing]. Then the whole thing can start to come apart like a two-dollar watch.” –Anne Lamott


Turns out, opportunities to be patient or to serve or be kind don’t usually arrive dressed up in ribbons and bows at a convenient time. They are often grumpy, unappreciative, smelling bad and arriving at exactly the wrong time. If in serving others, we are often serving Jesus unaware, Jesus is often in the distressing guise of the homeless, a cranky kid, a political polar opposite, or a motorcycle gang taking up a big hunk of our morning when we really just want to be home making ourselves an omelet.


It’s rarely ever a good time to be patient – that’s kinda the point. It requires a sort of sacrifice on our part; or we can’t really claim that we’re tolerant or accommodating. When the rubber hits the road and we’re tested, we find out the extent of our patience, generosity and kindness.


I’d like to say that the motorbike rally was a day changer for me and that I suddenly became Mother Theresa upon realizing my faults. But I didn’t. I had plenty more missteps today that probably “made Jesus want to drink gin straight out of the cat dish”  (another Anne Lamott phrase).


But maybe tomorrow I’ll be a little bit more aware, a little slower to anger, a little more patient. And I’ll give myself a little splash of that grace and forgiveness that I’m trying my hardest to give to everyone else.