I had an unpleasant experience the other day. I was in line at an aluminum recycling center, waiting my turn when the car in front of me pulled out of line. Believing that the driver had decided not to wait any longer, I pulled up. When I saw that the driver was only turning around and had pulled back in to line, behind me, I tried to back up, to give her the space she had "vacated." Unfortunately, that wasn't possible.
In my rearview mirror, I waved and smiled to her, trying to indicate my mistake. She glared at me in return. Later, as I was pulling out, I heard her remark that "some people are just rude."
It was a small thing, but I wondered how many times I have assigned rudeness as a motive when a simple mistake or misunderstanding could account for certain behavior. It's a disconcerting thought that I may have been as quick to assign blame as this woman was. Perhaps we should all give each other the benefit of a doubt.
This I know for sure: being generous in our thoughts is as important as being generous in our actions.