Living in Honduras, among other things, has had me on a path of self discovery. I continue to find myself in situations, mostly uncomfortable situations, that squeeze out of me who I really am. Sometimes I don’t like what I see. Sometimes I’m surprised by how I’ve changed. Friday was one of those occasions.
At two in the afternoon I got a call from Alvin asking me if I would pick his daughter up after school. The school is only a few blocks from my house so sometimes she will come here after school until Alvin picks her up. At 2:30 I arrived at the school along with many others to pick up their kids. I found a spot off the side of the road, in front of another car, where I could park and wait. As I pulled in I wasn’t paying very close attention and I clipped the front bumper of the car I was parking in front of. I only noticed when I heard a crunching sound. When I heard it I backed up to get away from the car and then proceeded to pull in to the parking spot.
Crisis. What do I do. I knew I had damaged that car. I looked in my rear view mirror and didn’t see anyone inside the car. I looked around and there was no one else around who saw what I did. I could get away with this. All I had to do was pull out and go around the block. By the time I got back Amy (Alvin’s daughter) would probably be out waiting for me. That is what I would have done in the past. In fact, I’ve done that before, many years ago.
I sat there going over my options: making plans and figuring out how I could escape responsibility. I decided not to pull out and go around the block. The next thought was that maybe Amy would come out before the car owner. She would get in and we would simply drive away. For 10 minutes I agonized over what I was going to do. My old nature told me to run and avoid responsibility. My conscience told me to fess up no matter the consequences.
Then the worst possible thing happened – the owner of the car came out and found the damage. In my rear view mirror I saw him pick up the headlight I had broken off. He looked at it and then looked around to see who might have done it. I sat there watching him. For some reason he didn’t look at me or my car. I thought maybe he would just get in his car and drive away.
No matter how badly I wanted to avoid my responsibility I knew the right thing to do. So I got out of my car, walked up to the man and said, “I’m sorry, I hit your car. I will pay for the damages. Just tell me what you would like me to do.” I was vulnerable. I had done significant damage to his headlight and bumper. He could have tried to soak me for hundreds of dollars. But after we talked for a few minutes he said that if I pay for a new headlight he would be happy with that. He said it would cost around twenty dollars. I gave him twenty-five dollars. I said I was sorry once more and he accepted my apology. After that, Amy came out and we left.
I would like to say that there wasn’t even a question of whether or not I would do the right thing. I wish those other thoughts and temptations never even entered my mind. But they did and I felt like I was in the middle of a battle between good and evil. I’m so thankful that God has changed me and that even though I still fight my old ways he has given me victory over them. I am thankful that I did the right thing and I don’t have to live with any guilt today. And I am thankful that God was watching over me and something that could have been very costly only cost me twenty-five dollars.