November 17, 2011

Life's Blind Spots

On my way to work this morning at the intersection where I was stopped, I saw a man in the turn-lane to my right pushing his car out of the way.

Usually when I see this situation someone will come to the persons' aid and offer assistance.

Today that did not happen.

Because he alone, was trying to steer and push at the same time, it was taking quite awhile for him to get out of the road.

The vehicles behind the big 4x4 truck (which was next in line behind the stalled car) started honking their horns.  First one , then others followed and with more frequency.

Of course my vision was clear as I could see the whole situation.
I could see what the other drivers with blocked information could not see.

First they did not understand what the truck driver knew and were letting him know they were not happy he was not moving.
Second they could not see that there was a man in distress doing the best he could to get out of the middle of the road.
Thus causing them to act in an irate and judgmental way.

As I sat there I contemplated several things.
If I were in their shoes vehicles:

1.  Would I have just sat quietly like the truck driver did, not reacting to others ignorance?

2.  Would I be like these reactive, impatient drivers pushing down on my horn, letting it get the best worst of me?

3.  How would I feel if I were this man with a disabled car, holding up traffic at a busy intersection knowing that there were irate people?  

4.  Would I have been able to stay focused on what was most important (moving my car) without showing my anger and helplessness with inappropriate words or actions?

5. Could and would I empathize with this man if I had been able to see the whole picture - knowing that I do not know of any person who intentionally breaks down in the middle of the road?

6. Today I had full understanding - will I remember next time when I do not, to trust that the traffic is stopped for a reason (that I might not understand) before lashing out because I am frustrated?

Most of us will have been in a situation similar to this, if not in traffic in another circumstance.

In that situation what was our personal role?
Are we proud of how we reacted?
Did we learn a lesson once we got all the facts?
Did others react differently to us once they had more facts?

Life is full of chances to learn-even at the intersections of our lives. 

"The test of courage comes when we are in the minority.  The test of tolerance comes when we are in the majority."  ~Ralph W. Sockman  
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