One of my favorite movies is You’ve Got Mail with Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan. In this movie Tom Hanks owns a large book store chain selling discount books that puts Meg Ryan’s quaint children’s book store out of business. His line throughout the movie is, “It’s not personal. It’s business.” Finally Meg Ryan’s response is, “All that means is it isn’t personal to you. It’s personal to me. It’s personal to a lot of people. And what is so wrong with being personal anyway? Whatever else anything is, it ought to begin with being personal.”
For some reason I thought about things being personal while driving to meet a friend for coffee after work. Traffic has been worse than normal for the last few months. It’s as if the number of cars on the road doubled. As I’m anxious to move forward in traffic and wishing these other cars would just get out of my way, I thought about how impersonal that is.
Every car on the road has a driver similar to me probably wishing the same thing. The traffic and lack of forward progress is personal to each of us, yet none of us really cares about the other one. Aggressive driving isn’t personal. It’s just business. But to each of us individually, it’s personal.
Jesus said the greatest commandment is to love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength. The second is to love your neighbor as yourself. That’s personal.
So as I’m driving through a double dose of traffic, I realize I am selfish. It’s all about me and where I want to go. It’s my business. But what happened to being personal? What happened to love? I’m definitely not the only one on the road. These cars are not driving themselves.
Maybe I should think of the person in the car next to me that needs to move into my lane and has had their blinker on for 3 blocks. Maybe the person behind me is driving to an important doctor appointment, to pick their child up from daycare, or to their elderly parent’s home to cook dinner. I’m on my way to coffee with a friend. Does it really matter if I get their 10 minutes late? Oh, that is so hard for me.
So today, I’m going to take Meg Ryan’s advice and remember it ought to begin with being personal. More important than that, I’m going to remember what’s most important is loving God and then others. To love Him is to obey Him, and that will produce a love for others and being personal.
If you see me on the road, wave. I promise to be looking and wave back. It’s not business. It’s personal.