The Day I Yelled at an Old Man in the WalMart Parking Lot

Yesterday I yelled at an old man in the Wal-Mart parking lot.

Let’s close in prayer. For me. Because I yelled at an old man. In the Wal-Mart parking lot.

Some days it feels like all I’m doing is winning at life, and then other days…well…let’s just say it feels like I’m not winning.

I texted my husband as I left the store (voice texting, people; I’m not typing and driving) and this is what it said:

Yes, there *might* have been a little retouching of this image to remove profanity. Don’t judge me. Even worse, there is horrible grammar represented here, which I cannot gloss over.

Bad grammar is NEVER ok, unless you’re voice texting like I was. Then we can just blame Siri.

The truth is, yesterday sucked. It was, in the words of one of my favorite children’s books of all time, a “terrible, horrible, no-good, very-bad day.” I spent almost three hours trying to send money to a friend’s ministry overseas via MoneyGram, which should have taken five minutes. I visited four (count that, FOUR) Wal-Marts in the process because the MoneyGram machines were not having a happy day. The above incident happened at Wal-Mart #4 right after my fourth failed attempt to wire the funds.

I was leaving the store with two of my kids in tow, so obviously I was already in a bad frame of mind. Just imagine standing in line at the 4th Wal-Mart customer service desk of the day trying to figure out why things are still not working while two kids touch everything in the vicinity and ask to buy stuff every 20 seconds.

We were in the parking lot, almost to the van, when suddenly a car next to us started to back out. It could have been bad; thankfully, I noticed the movement and was able to pound on the car’s back window, alerting the driver to the fact that people were behind him and about to be run over.

You’d think the driver would have felt awful about almost killing three people. You’d be thinking wrong, though. The driver threw his car in park and started honking his horn repeatedly. Then he rolled his window down and started yelling at me, telling me to get the —- out of his way, all the while continuing to honk his horn. He reminded me of this guy:

This old man had almost run over me and my children, and then laid into me for walking behind his car in a parking lot and “blocking him in.” Somehow it was my fault.

Okay, listen…I’m normally pretty cool-headed person. I don’t get riled up, and I don’t engage with people who are having temper tantrums, whether they be five or 85. I’m able to keep my wits about me and walk away…usually.

Not yesterday.

Guys, I kid you not when I tell you that I. Lost. My. Mind. Lost it. Speaking of which, if anyone in East Cobb happened to see a grown woman screaming at a geriatric driving a Honda CRV at the local Wal-Mart, I just want to say I’m sorry you had to see that, and obviously I need Jesus. A lot.

I’m not proud of the things I said. Actually, let me rephrase. I’m proud of the things I said, I’m just not proud of how I said those things. I’m pretty sure I yelled something along the lines of, “You’re too OLD to be operating a vehicle,” and I might have also hollered, “the police should take your license away!” Both of those things were very probably true, but (as my daughter told me later in the car), I didn’t say them nicely.

It really was a low for me, yelling at an old man. I love old men! They’re hilarious and cute, even when they’re mean and grumpy. I had to apologize to my kids in the car for losing my temper, and I had to tell them how wrong it was of me to talk to another human being that way. I told them, as I do most days, that I’m obviously so far from perfect, and that all I can say when I fail is that it’s yet another example of how much I need Jesus.

Oh, how I need Him. On my best days I need Him. On my worst days I need Him.

I need Him every single day.

It’s easy to look at our good days, the days when we’re winning at life, and to forget our need for Jesus. It’s also easy to look at our worst days, the days when we yell at old men in Wal-Mart parking lots, and to remember how desperately depraved we are apart from Him.

The truth is, we need Him every day. Always. At our worst, we’re filthy sinners in need of His salvation. At our best, we’re filthy sinners in need of His salvation. If we look at our need for Him through the lens of how good we’ve been or how much right we’ve done, we start to blur the line between His God-ness and our human-ness. If there’s ever a time we feel we need Him less than we do on our worst days, I think we’ve forgotten how far removed we are from His holiness. He is God, incapable of being anything but good and true. I’m a hot mess of a sinner who has been saved by grace, who’s reminded every single day how amazing it is that God would rescue me in spite of me.

God loves me as much on my Wal-Mart days as He does on my best days. He doesn’t love me more on my best days than He does on my Wal-Mart days. He just loves me, fully, all the days. He loves you, too. Praise the Lord that He doesn’t require our perfection, and praise Him that He offers grace upon grace to us, flowing from a well that never runs dry.

Since we’ve compiled this long and sorry record as sinners and proved that we

are utterly incapable of living the glorious lives God wills for us, God did

it for us. Out of sheer generosity He put us in right standing with Himself.

A pure gift. He got us out of the mess we’re in and restored us to where He

always wanted us to be. And He did it by means of Jesus Christ.

ROMANS 3:23-24 (MSG)

I love what that translation says: we’re incapable of living the glorious lives God wills for us, and so He did it for us, on our behalf, all the while knowing we couldn’t do anything to make things right. He gave us what we could not earn and made everything right.

Right on.

On a positive note, today was better than yesterday. I went to the bank and wired the money overseas, which I should have done in the first place instead of trying to save a few bucks by using MoneyGram. I took a nap and some time for me. And I went to Target, which always makes me happy, because Target. And because I’ve had enough of Wal-Mart in the last two days to last me a lifetime.

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Jordan Baker Watts
Jordan Baker Watts is a wife, mother, worship leader, speaker, writer, and former Miss America. Ok, that last one's not true, but one time she watched it on TV. Jordan's heart is for sharing Jesus with those around her, whether through song, speaking, or the written word. She shares from a real, raw place and loves to encourage those around her to come honestly and comfortably before the Lord just as they are, not as they "should" be. She uses the medium of humor to engage her audience, and she loves to laugh! Her story is one of freedom from the lies of the enemy, and of triumph over bondage, all solely by the grace of a merciful and kind God. When she grows up she wants to run a marathon (but only if there are snack breaks along the way). Follow her blog at