Saturday evening I was out redeeming my Sweetest Day. I was preoccupied in my thoughts weighing weather I should buy candy, flowers, or a cookbook for my Sweetest. I should have been paying more attention to my driving. I paused at a corner in a shopping center parking lot and without realizing it I rolled through a four-way stop. I pulled away from the stop sign before the fellow who had the right-of-way. He laid on his horn and his car lunged forward as if he was going to slam into me broadside.
I thought; “Wow, if I had a Beemer that nice I don’t think I would play bumper cars with it.” I glanced over just in time to see his distorted, angry, homicidal face. I looked at him as if to say, “oops–sorry,” but I don’t think I was able to communicate my contrition.
Such a fuss, I thought, about being about three seconds later wherever he was going. I’m just a village parson at heart. I’m used to people being a little nicer. I love the western suburbs of Chicago, but I’m having a little trouble adjusting. You should see what happens if you slow down to enjoy an autumn drive through the neighborhood. People here are all in a big hurry and they are often just plain not nice.
I am thinking of starting a “be nice” campaign. We could have hats and tee shirts that say “BE NICE.” We could have “be nice” meetings, and maybe even write some “be nice” songs. We could have a membership of nice people. Maybe we could get a “NICE” movement started.
There are exceptions, like our neighbor, Trudy, who invited us to her fall gathering Saturday and made sure we all had a piece of her special home-made bread and cocoa. There aren’t enough exceptions though. I think we should go on a mission to make more. I guess, when you get right down to it that should be one of the primary effects of getting the gospel to people.
If your sins are forgiven, you know you are on your way to heaven, and you have the Holy Spirit living in you, you would have good reason to be nice.
I’m thinking of a thick coffee mug with bold letters; BE NICE. Underneath in smaller letters; “You don’t look so scary that way.”
October 23, 2006