Unfortunately, I find it difficult to 'turn the other cheek' when I'm driving, and there seems to be an increasing number of idiots on the roads these days. When someone is driving discourteously, particularly if I am forced to brake, change lanes or otherwise modify my own course in any way, I usually shout at them (not that they can hear me - I'm just letting off steam).
And what I shout, particularly if I feel that the other person has put me in danger by whatever it was they did, is usually couched in the sort of language that I hate to hear anybody use in public and would never dream of using myself when not in the car. Unfortunately, New Man has travelled in the car with me often enough by now to have discovered how deeply flawed I am in this respect. (Fortunately, it appears he still loves me despite that. :¬))
As I drive, I either listen to the radio or to a CD. When I'm driving on my own, I have three or four CDs of hymns which I like to sing along to. I think the hymns help - it's very difficult to be totally obnoxious while singing a hymn, particularly as I have chosen hymns which are peaceful and reflective - some old, some modern (but not obnoxiously modern).
However, there are times when my reaction to a particular occurrence is pretty much reflexive, and the hymn is momentarily forgotten.
I'm ashamed to tell you this, but if someone were to transcribe everything I said and sang in the car, it would go something like this:
"Make me a channel of your Get out of the way, you idiot!
Where there is hatred, let me Don't you know how to use your indicator?
Where For Heaven's sake, look where you're going! your pardon, Lord
And where there's Oh, think you can push your way up the inside, do you?
Well, I'm not letting you in, mate! may never seek
So much to be Get off the phone, you moron! as to console..."
And so on.
You may be shocked. I shock myself. And believe me, I do try. But there are some incredibly bad drivers in this world.
So this evening, on arriving home, I actually looked at the Vatican website to see what this 'Ten Commandments for Motorists' was all about. Well, I'd seen all the news articles that poked a bit of fun at the idea of 'Ten Commandments'. But these were actually a small part of a much longer document. And let me tell you, if I were to read this document before every time I got into the car, I think I'd be working much harder at controlling my unpleasant impulses.
That may not always be feasible, but I think I am going to put this quote from Pope Pius XII on my sun visor. A reminder that it's there whenever I'm tempted to respond to perceived discourtesy with anger and more discourtesy may be enough to help me control my temper a bit better.
Do not forget to respect other road users, be courteous and fair with other drivers and pedestrians and show them your obliging nature. Pride yourselves in being able to master an often natural impatience, in sometimes sacrificing a little of your sense of honour so that the courteousness that is a sign of true charity may prevail. Not only will you thus be able to avoid unpleasant accidents, but you will also help to make the car a more useful tool for yourselves and others that is capable of giving you a more genuine pleasure.