I just didn't see you......

Tires screeched.  The other car's horn blared loudly...and long.  I won't soon forget the near mishap.  I came within a millisecond of turning right in front of this car.  I nearly had to pull over and pull myself together but I didn't want to further alarm the kids in the car with me.  My heart was beating out of my chest and my hands were shaking violently.  I knew what had almost happened.

It wasn't that I was being careless or taking unwise risks.  Not at all. I am a careful, rather cautious driver.  (Getting caught by the cop hiding out in the cemetery on Simonton Bridge Road will do that to ya.  Just so you know.) I just didn't see them.....

This close call happened shortly after we got this new vehicle.  Which I dearly love. EXCEPT for the rain guards affixed to the front windows.  They are tinted dark and they stick out just enough to create...a blind spot.  I've since learned that I need to lean to the far left when checking for oncoming traffic in order to compensate for the blind spot created by these supposedly helpful rain guards.  As an added measure of precaution, I wait a couple of extra seconds and check 2-3 more times, just to be sure.  Cuz three years later, I am still scared by that incident.  And I've learned to drive in such a way as to accommodate that blind spot.  I know that "I'm sorry, I just didn't see you" is not a sufficient excuse for causing pain. 

In recent weeks, I've observed some emotional blind spots. I was rebuked (gently, thankfully) for "calling out" someone.  It shocked me because my intent was exactly the opposite.  Truly.  I thought for all the world that I was handling the situation in a way that would NOT make the other person feel singled out.  Turns out I was wrong.  Blind spot. I saw an enthusiastic and conversant teenager, completely unaware that she repeatedly shut others out of her verbal circle. Those not included eventually quit trying to join in and slipped away.  Blind spots. I witnessed an adult who embarrassed a young teenager.  A kind, gentle adult who was oblivious to the insecurities of adolescents and how they invariably interpret humor aimed at their inadequacies. How soon we forget what those years are like.  Blind spots.  I overheard an elderly man unknowingly belittle a young adult, unable to discern that his remarks were anything but benign to their hearer.  Blind spot.  I was in the presence of a wonderful middle aged man who could not help boasting about his admittedly admirable accomplishments.  But in the fallout of his well deserved esteem, I don't think he noticed the person beside him crumble.  I sensed that she didn't feel she had anything of comparable value to share.  Blind spot.  They just didn't see them.

I know every one of these speakers.  Each one is kindhearted, well-intentioned, and would be horrified to discover that their words wounded.  Just like I was when I almost caused a horrific accident.  I'm a good driver.  Careful.  Cautious.  Alert.  But I have a blind spot.  And it can cause me a heap of trouble.  But because I am aware of it, I can drive so that I compensate for it.  Extra care.  Extra caution.  Taking more time.  I can't get rid of the blind spot but I can adapt to it, work around it, be aware of its potential for harm.

Because even unintended harm hurts.

Today's verse for Wednesday's Word:

Ephesians 5:15
Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise,
Beware of blind spots.  By definition, we don't know we have them unless we ask someone to point them out...or unless we view the carnage we unwittingly create because of them.