(NOTICE AND DISCOVER #4)
Monday, August 2nd
~ something that deserves or justifies a reward or commendation
~ a right, immunity, or benefit enjoyed by a particular person or a restricted group of people beyond the advantages of most*
This past Friday, I had a 9:00 appointment at the Department of Motor Vehicles. When I arrived, there were 30-40 people already standing in a line that went out the door and down the sidewalk! But because I had scheduled an appointment, I was able to walk past all of them to stand in a line designated for “Appointments Only.” As the next clerk became available, a couple from the regular line started to walk in front of me toward that window; the clerk told them to go back in line and invited me up instead. I was then moved swiftly through the license renewal process, and I was back on the road with my new license in under fifteen minutes.
I had mixed feelings about all of this…
In one way, I felt that I deserved this special treatment. I had tried to schedule my appointment back in May, when my license was about to expire. The DMV website strongly recommended making an appointment because of Covid-19 and social distancing restrictions. Their first available appointment wasn’t until July 8th, so I reserved that one. When that day finally arrived, I received a call that the computer system was down and I needed to reschedule! I then took the next available time, July 19th. On that morning, I actually went all the way to the DMV and was told that the computer system was down AGAIN. I had to return home and wait for someone to call with a new appointment.
So on Friday, I felt that my privilege of ease and efficiency was merited and deserved.
In another way, I felt uncomfortable with my priority treatment while all these people continued to wait in line. I wanted to shout, “Hey folks, I had a tough time getting to this point, too; I am with you!” If I am honest, I also felt uncomfortable with the way I inwardly felt proud, wise, and gleeful about my privileged treatment. I thought to myself, “Hey folks, see how easily this is done? Make an appointment!”
The root of my discomfort was that I didn’t want to be considered privileged when I had merited this moment…
The recent Five Minute Friday prompt (see FIVE MINUTE FRIDAY: DRIVE ) was my invitation to pay attention to God’s movement at the DMV that day. So later, I contemplated these mixed emotions and began to realize the ways I am privileged. I have had so many undeserved advantages that led to my experience of special treatment.
For example, I have internet service in an area where the hills or poverty often keep others without service. I am able to read, I have the knowledge of website navigation, and I have a cell phone to receive notice of cancelations. I have the freedom of a flexible time schedule that can accommodate appointments. We have the financial ability to pay our property tax and the cost of my license. I have a car to drive to the DMV, and the health to walk in. I even had fearful but caring parents and a cranky driving instructor who taught me to drive those years ago.
The people waiting in line could have easily perceived me as privileged, and they would be right.
Here are my invitations for this week. Do they resonate with yours?
Though there will always be inequalities and unfair advantages, what can I do to enable someone to have a better chance for a better life? How might I use my advantages and abilities in service for others?
Can I celebrate my small victories without forgetting those who helped me along the way? Can I remain humble, knowing that others could celebrate the same successes under different circumstances? How might I refrain from feeling entitled?
Might I respond, “I don’t deserve this!” for my blessings as readily as I do for my hardships?
Do we merit God’s goodness simply because God calls us beloved, and so regards all of us worthy of goodness and blessing? How might I help God bring that goodness to others?
What small miracles and movements are you noticing this week?
My prayers for you continue.
A few hours before posting this blog, I read this…
“Everything that we have and do and are and accomplish is because of God’s immense love for us and empowerment of us.”1
And once again, I marvel at the goodness of God in these small daily miracles.
*Definitions from Dictionary.com
1Rubietta, Jane. Resting Place – A Personal Guide to Spiritual Retreats. Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2005. Paperback.
Photo by Karen, Winfield, WV