I have been thinking this week of my pet peeves. A conversation with a friend made me think about the things that really annoy me, get under my nerves, fester away when I’m not paying conscious attention.

For example, I don’t deal well with clutter. (Don’t come to my house, having read that, because I’m taking on a BIG DEMON with clutter as we do remodeling and rearranging!) It drives me bonkers when things aren’t put away. Sometimes I can feel the switch in my brain flipped to MAD just by seeing something that wasn’t put away correctly.

I just about hit the roof when I read about “they’re mother” or “it’s coat.” I can about chew off a finger when I’m reading a sentence—published in a nationally recognized publication or in a book somewhere—that has a comma where a period or a semicolon belong.

And then there’s the issue I have with abbreviations in typewritten communication. Is it REALLY necessary to type “b/c” when it takes exactly a nanosecond longer to spell out “because”? Now if I’m handwriting, it’s all fair game. Some of them make sense—”LOL” might be battered, but it has a place with “BTW” for convenience and almost its own entry in the dictionary, so I’m OK with them. But there are times when I read abbreviations and just…well, I lose my charity. I forget a human being wrote it, and maybe someone who would go berserk if they saw what I consider clean here at my house.

In examining these pet peeves of mine, I can’t help but think what God must think. Here I sit, so much better than those fools who make the mistakes, so superior in my knowledge, so perfect in my life. Wait a minute! I’m not perfect. But I do sound just like a Pharisee, don’t I? A little clutter makes the world more comfortable, and grammar was probably invented by the same people who join the liturgical police when they grow up. So what’s my problem?

My problem is that I’m human, and I’m imperfect. It’s so much easier to look out at others and be annoyed with their shortcomings than it is to pull out the toolbox of prayer, confession, and Eucharist to address my own failings. It’s so much more natural to see what’s wrong with others than it is to do something about what’s wrong with me.

Perhaps God has given me this abundance of pet peeves to make me reflect on what it is about me that might annoy others. Perhaps in loving my neighbor even when they’re annoying me in large, little ways is a step in the right direction.