No one likes group punishment.
In basic training, when someone dropped their rifle, the drill sergeant dropped our entire platoon for pushups.
In my unit at Fort Drum, NY, when someone lost accountability of a pair of night-vision goggles, our Commanding General locked down the whole post until the sensitive item was located.
My combat experiences have made driving a significant challenge. I don't like feeling claustrophobic or trapped in rush hour. I'm working on it, but it's not my favorite thing to do.
So when one person taps their brakes on the highway, it sets off a chain reaction that creates an accordion effect that keeps me from the important place I have to be (which is naturally more important than where everyone else needs to be!)
The other day I was driving home from work in particularly frustrating and slow wintry traffic. Minnesota drivers seem to have no concept of how the left lane works. Couple that with arctic temperatures, black ice, and the low-grade stress connected to the most recent soul-crushing Vikings playoff loss, and it creates real anxiety. Near my home there are two on-ramps very close to each other. This causes a chain reaction of brake tapping that recently led me to exclaim out loud in a fit of carnality and to no one in particular, "It only takes one dummy to slow the rest of us down!"
It was at that time I realized, "It only takes one, dummy..." It only takes me to take a deep breath and extend grace.
It only takes one person, me, to let off the gas, find a divine word in my mind on which to meditate for a few seconds until I can get back to my hasty agenda, my important thing, my brusque manner, focused on me, me, me.
While I'm at it, I should probably work on my self-talk...
Leader Prayer: Lord, there are far more important things than trying to beat traffic. May patience have it's perfect work in me so I can be fully equipped to produce fruit for your kingdom that lasts. Amen.