My long-time friend Shelley called yesterday. We live in different parts of the state so we don’t run in to each other at Walmart. We have to catch up by phone. We can be in the middle of a conversation when one of us has to hang up, promising to call back. It could be in two days or two weeks or two months, but we always call back. Once Shelley started the call back with, “..And so then…”, just like the conversation had been put on pause and she had hit the play button.

Yesterday she was driving cookies-on-a-stick to her daughter’s house for her granddaughter’s first birthday party. So the fragile cookies would get there in one piece, Shelley was driving way below the speed limit on the curvy highway near her house. She had pulled over to let the long line of cars go around when she called.

“Driving these cookies reminded me of the story a pastor friend told me,” she started. “As a business his wife bakes gorgeous wedding cakes and the pastor is in charge of delivering them. He said it takes razor-sharp focus and nerves of steel every time he loads one in the van. ‘I have to remember each cake is for a wedding that’s been planned for months and dreamed about for years. And, my wife has put in hours of tedious work. I take care of each cake like a mother bear with her cubs’, he said.”

“He told me people get really frustrated because he drives so slowly protecting the cake. ‘Over time I’ve seen plenty of angry faces and middle fingers. I’m just a pastor trying to deliver a beautiful cake for a special celebration. I’ve learned plenty hauling cakes’, he said. ‘It’s helped me understand people do a lot of things for good reasons we’re unaware of.’

“Now I know how he feels,” Shelley said.

Everyone has a story … not all of them so fairy-tale-like. People are struggling. Why are we so quick to judge and snarl when someone may just be trying to do the right thing? I honestly have to believe people are much too busy to sit and dream up ways to irritate us. Since extending grace and being patient, for most of us, is not an automatic, natural response, it has to be intentional. Not making hasty judgements is a decision.

Be careful when you push by people. You never know who may be driving wedding cakes.

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