Today, I was unwinding and enjoying some quiet time, shopping at the local market, intent on a selection of delectable dinner fixings. Food for the soul: mundane but comforting after a flurry of activity over the past week. Sadly, what really elevated this day into a strange cataclysm of emotions was a simple interaction at the checkout counter.
As I approached the Cashier who was assisting the Gentleman in front of me, I overheard the employee sharing an unfortunate incident that she had experienced earlier in the week, all the while elevating her voice so that the whole checkout line could share in her harrowing tale. This Lady had hit a motorcyclist, almost changing the destiny of the young man involved. Fortunately, both lucky souls walked away relatively unscathed, although the motorbike was totalled and the Rider was undoubtedly shaken AND stirred. Who knows what emotional scarring may have been experienced by either party involved? All I could do was listen intently with compassion. Until the Cashier blurted out that she had no idea why this bike or Man was on the road at this time of the year. She started purporting that motorcyclists should stay off the roads in the Fall & Winter, and the Gentleman with whom she was conversing exclaimed that they should ban motorcyclists entirely. She nodded her head in agreement, smiling & exclaiming at the craziness of her misadventure. I was thinking … what next? Ban pedestrians from crossing the road? Outlaw cyclists from ever being a nuisance? Hinder any attempts at free will in a democratic society? What really blew me away was the Cashier’s total neglect for taking responsibility. She had in fact hit the motorcycle, seemingly (and obviously) unaware of her surroundings and of him.
Yet I suppose, what really stirred me were the emotions coursing through my soul at remembering my brother who had lost his life in a motorcycle accident, 22 years ago. One of the less lucky ones. My family crawled away, scarred for life, losing a son, brother, artist and mentor.
As the transaction was completed before me, I remained calm, quiet and somewhat terse when the Cashier asked me if I was okay. I nodded numbly, turned away quickly in the midst of my tears and briskly walked away. In this moment of quiet angst, I had lost an opportunity for sharing my story. Such was the potential for education that could have ensued on a matter that wreaked of crazy bias and self-righteous indignation. But I was too afraid to speak, lest my emotions runneth over into something uglier than what I was witnessing and hearing.
Sigh. A missed opportunity to be sure, but this was a point of reflection for myself that shifted me. Surprisingly, I moved into a sense of compassion for the checkout Lady, once I was able to step away from my trigger point, assessing what had actually transpired before me on this beautiful Fall day.
Have you ever missed such an opportunity for growth in conversation where you held your tongue, for fear of emotion overtaking your sense of duty to educate and communicate? Or worse, spoke your mind in anger or judgment without really allowing room for conversation? Life truly does begin at the end of ones comfort zone.
I feel that it’s so important for all the involved parties to take a figurative walk in the other person’s shoes, rather than expressing theoretical proponents of insight that are most likely non-relevant to the situation at hand. Informed insight is a far better way to educate oneself, learning through experience, than by espousing our self-imposed belief system. Knowing that we are all imperfect, human and hopeful allows room for growth, trust and the potential for mutual understanding, in a life worth living, with every sense that we can muster.
|The brave may not live forever, but the timid never live at all.|
As Colin Wright has quoted: “Think. Do. Learn. Share. Grow.” Add in ‘Breath’ and ‘Repeat’, and here I have myself a winning formula to a life full of exploration and positive development.
I feel that it’s our duty to humankind to create a better AND kinder world for those around us, one loving and compassionate breath at a time. What do you think?