Faithful Living: Have faith, patience on road of life

“Why did you call our home, not identify yourself, then ask for my husband by his first name as if you know him personally?” I asked the woman on the other end of the phone.

It was Wednesday evening and we were just getting dinner on the table. I had been willing to take the call and summon him because we had yet to be seated. Besides, it sounded like a young friend of ours. We have always made it a priority to be available to our friends, family members and coworkers if at all possible.

Her tactics annoyed me. I understood she has a job to do, but they seemed rude and intrusive, sneaky and unsolicited. As I voiced my annoyance to my kids, my husband caught my agitation and handed me the phone.

“Let her know how you feel about this!” he challenged me.

To everyone’s surprise, I took the challenge. I chose to be polite to her, mind you, but I was direct and gave voice to my views on the matter. In fact, my kids stared in amazement as their normally amiable mother questioned the telemarketer’s methods.

“Why did you not talk with me when I answered the phone? How did you get our number when we’ve placed ourselves on the national No Call list?”

With greater frequency these days I realize that my outlook on life and ways to interact with people differs greatly from the social tide. My husband and I do our best to create a good life for our children. We set rules and boundaries. We intentionally work to model ways to communicate, manage stress, and work through challenges and struggles. We aim to be consistent and institute workable systems for running our household. And we work to incorporate our faith into our everyday experiences.

For a number of years we felt wearied and bruised by intrusive calls such as these and media that seemed way over the top. Today we allow the glaring differences to serve as teachable moments and constructive conversations with our children.

It is no longer enough to monitor television, movies, Internet and phone use. We must give our children good reason for striving to be different and methods to maneuver in this world where their differences are acceptable and the result of their efforts is confidence and success. We must identify codes of conduct and stay the course because it’s never acceptable to give up on our kids or forget that many of life’s greatest lessons take a long time to understand and accept.

On a recent trip into town I watched a driver react to a young traffic control flagger with such anger and disrespect it alarmed me. That three-minute delay could not have impacted his schedule as much as he let on and his lovely head of white hair indicated to me he knew better than to be rude and overreactive.

If that were not enough, we counted two vehicles driven by people who passed us on the right with their pedals to the metal—in spite of the posted speed limits and children biking along the roadway. Our only satisfaction came when we reached both vehicles at the next intersection. Their hurrying and illegal lane changing had only moved them one car ahead of us and I used the experience as a teachable moment for my son who is learning to drive.

So what does all this have to do with faithful living? I believe that instituting, valuing and practicing faith during the mundane moments of our lives rounds out those rough edges we all have. Faith builds into us that steady reminder that ugliness, rudeness, disrespect for ourselves and those around us not only offends God but reduces the effectiveness of our families, classrooms, work sites, roadways, and society as a whole.

While people of faith make a multitude of mistakes, faith also builds into us the desire to live with a higher calling. Faith says to put that cart back into the rack instead of the planter, where it might roll into the side of someone else’s car. It says to build a cushion into your schedule so a delay in traffic flow will not put you over the edge. It says that offensive or worrisome moments can be turned into teachable and enlightening experiences for others if you will patiently and confidently present your point of view.

Faith encourages us to choose the better way. May we had down that road this week.

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