What Would Dashboard Jesus Do (WWDJD)?
I have a crappy plastic dashboard Jesus in my car. It was a Christmas gift from a nephew and it is my pride and joy. I love it so much that I bought another one for my other car. One car is an old beat up forest green Land Rover with over 150,000 miles. It has lots of well loved scratches, dents and stickers and is now the dog/beach/dump car. The other car is a brand new Range Rover in Carolina blue. It has less than 5,000 miles but it already has a big scrape on the passenger side front fender, caused by a ridiculously narrow garage door. It too has stickers but those are more in an attempt to say “the owner of this car is not what you expect” rather than the over-time acquired stickers on the old Land Rover. The owner of both cars feels like she has to loudly say “I’m not what you expect” when she drives the fancy Range Rover- something she is all too aware of.
Dashboard Jesus was meant to be a joke since I’m the Christian Aunt with a car that has been the object of a “bag intervention” — on Mother’s Day of all days. I’ve had looks from friends and strangers who wonder why I proudly display Dashboard Jesus. I’ve even had one friend write about it in her monthly column. Once he was in place I didn’t think about him often but yesterday he was screaming at me.
Despite being proudly messy, I am strict rule follower. Despite being Christian, I can move straight into judgement when others do not follow the rules. One such place is the school drop off line. I am Annette from Mr Mom who says “Hi Jack. You’re doing it wrong” when Jack Butler goes the wrong way in the school drop off line. I am the lady who says “south to drop MORON!” Yesterday was a prime example of my Mom judgement in full display. When I got to school I flashed my lights at the oncoming car, who had been waiting for a chance to turn in against traffic. She kindly waved to me which my son happily noted for me because I have noted when “they” don’t wave to me. As we approach the front doors the car in front of me stops. I immediately raise both hands in the air with my WTF face. After a brief pause they move forward to the end of the drop off line as they are “supposed” to do. Upon exiting the car, one of the three girls exiting looks at me with disdain. My son and Dashboard Jesus look at me too. It was 7:30 am. It was really cold. I have no idea what was going on during the ride to school for that mini van in front of me but it drives me crazy when people stop at the front door instead of going to the end of the line. We all drive to school every day and we know how it works. If you stop at the front door, then I stop, then the car behind me stops and pretty soon there is a back up on the road into the school. The “rules” are obvious. “South to drop off MORON!”
So, Dashboard Jesus — he was looking at me after I pulled out of the drive with my righteous attitude. His face was staring at me as I drove away from the high school and I was tempted to take him off the dashboard and put him in the glove compartment. He was really pissing me off. I knew what he was thinking… maybe the Dad who was driving to school just lost his job. Maybe the Dad is driving to school because the Mom is home recovering from surgery or maybe there is no Mom. Maybe the three teenage girls in the car are terrorists in the morning and all he wanted to do was get them out of the car as soon as possible. Maybe the girls asked if he could drop them at the door since it was cold and since he was a nice guy and school technically didn’t start til 9 on Wednesday, he didn’t see the harm in not following the rules. Maybe it’s none of my damn business why he stopped at the door instead of the end of the line and I could just get over it and show a little grace and compassion. I mean, didn’t I stop at the front door the day we were dropping off the Chinese exchange student? Didn’t we take too long stopped in the line the days the dogs were in the car and the kids were petting them before they left? Didn’t my car battery die one day in the car pick up line?
Here’s the thing I mean to say…. I don’t need Dashboard Jesus to tell me that I’m not perfect. I also believe that there are “rules” for a reason and a community functions best when the members obey the agreed upon rules of that community. I also know we are all human and things don’t always go according to plan and teenagers can be beasts in the morning. I also believe most people really are doing their best everyday and that what they do or do not do has absolutely nothing to do with me or you.
Today it was a cold rainy morning. I looked at Dashboard Jesus when I got in the car and said to myself “I will be nicer today”. I wore my gray bathrobe and Easter Bunny ears in the car ride to school to drop off my son. I didn’t say anything when the driver of the car I let in didn’t give me a friendly “thank you wave” and I didn’t raise my arms or make my WTF face when the car in front of me didn’t move for a reasonable long time after the children had exited the car. Tomorrow I hope I will be nice again, but if by chance I’m not, I’ll try again the next day because the thing is, we are all doing our best and somedays that isn’t what others will think it really up to par. Lord knows what other’s think about me, my dashboard Jesus and my WTF face in the drop off line.