This weekend I attended a women’s retreat with my mom, an event where women from my denomination all across the state get together and worship and listen to a speaker.  There is a nice banquet with edible flowers on the plates which I generally collect and take home.

After the closing service on Saturday, right before lunch, with my mother beside me in my vehicle, I found myself at an intersection near the event facility and, mainly, I found myself.

The intersection had two sets of lights, one for those going straight and one for those turning right. My visor was down, so I did not immediately see that the lights for making a turn were green. I began to stop. I would have seen the green lights eventually on my own, but thanks to the mini-van full of women behind me, fresh out of the Christian retreat and laying on the horn impatiently, I didn’t have to.

I guess they had an appointment at Applebee’s or The Cracker Barrel — something really important like that. And, whether they knew it or not, they almost had an appointment with my middle finger.

I turned to my mom, who was sitting in the front passenger seat. “I just about gave those women the finger!” I said. “Practically five minutes after hearing about the love of Jesus and they’re honking their horn at me!”

My theory is that Jesus would not have used his car horn except in cases where the person had an Ichthys on their car and drove like a jerk. Or, perhaps, in response to a mini van full of women with carefully coiffed hair who had just raised their hands in worship to him and now raised their horn in “get moving, we want to get to lunch!”

And so I very nearly did the same — fresh from the retreat, I about flipped the bird.

Today in church there was an elderly man in the back with what sounded like a set of lungs filled with 80 percent phlegm. The hacking and gurgling coughing racket that came from back there was tremendously distracting, and I was annoyed with myself for being annoyed. It then escalated into him falling asleep and snoring just short of a bandsaw.

Really, Julie?! I thought as I leaned forward in the pew trying to physically focus on the message. Jesus came to heal the sick and you’re annoyed because they’re distracting you from your ease of listening? The guy is obviously struggling with a health issue and you’re annoyed because you can’t focus?! You suck!

At that point, someone in the back pew on the other side of the aisle starting woofing.


I assume it was something like Tourette’s or some other kind of disability, as it was periodic and didn’t seem to be an attempt by someone to be funny. But yes, there was woofing. My friend, after the service, asked if I’d heard the barking during the service.

Snoring, gurgling, woofing and honking.

It would be easy to ignore the sermon, complain about the racket, and gripe about the hypocrites who don’t walk the talk. It would be very easy to mistake following the followers for following Christ. If I don’t want to follow Christ, I don’t have to work too hard to find a reason. There will never be a shortage of distractions in life. There will never be a shortage of excuses.

The problem with this endless supply of distractions and excuses is that there isn’t an endless supply of tomorrows.