I pulled up to the toll booth, cash-less, and immediately apologized.
"I don't have any cash, I'm so sorry."
He rolled his eyes and asked for my driver's license. I gave it to him, feeling incredibly guilty for not being able to pay the $3.15 this toll road required. I wrung my hands a little and then said, "I'm so sorry, I tried getting cash at the ATM but it was broken."
He rolled his eyes a little--again--and said, "They're broken."
He wrote me a little ticket, gave me the carbon copy and told me to send a check or money order to the address on the ticket. He was very nice as he did this, and I realized, based on our interaction and the waiting I had done in the short line, I was not the only one to whom this had happened.
It wasn't about me - he was frustrated with the ATM situation.
You've been there...
Your spouse snaps at you. You're sure she's mad -- again -- because you left your towel on the bathroom floor.
Your boss shakes her head when you ask if she needs something. Usually she smiles and says, "Not right now, but thank you." You're sure you've done something to bother her.
The cashier at the store answers a half-hearted, "Fine, how are you?" after you've asked her how she's doing. You're sure it's because you two aren't the same color/size/whatever.
Can I just tell you ... it's not all about you. People have their own things going on, and we don't all have the capacity to be kind and chipper and "on" all the time.
Think about it ... think about all the things fighting for your attention at any given moment. And think about how much energy it takes you sometimes to act as you should act in a given situation. And think about a time when you received grace for a less-than-stellar attitude, because someone understood that you are human.
As we walk through life today, let's remember that most people are making it through the best they can. Give a little grace and a little bigger smile, and move about your day.