Have you ever had a day, a week, a month in which the world seems slightly schizophrenic?
Yep. Me too.
I am trying to remember my reactions (or lack thereof) to things are more important, many times, than the “thing” that is actually happening. That the things happening might be meant for my learning. It is less about the “thing” and more about what I get out of it, wisdom-wise. Can I be more patient, less irritated, kinder, less snarky?
This is not easy.
Because I find my reactions vary widely. In one moment, I appear a good-hearted Buddha of a gal and in the next, I am swearing like a banshee at the driver who nearly crashed his car into mine.
I strive for more consistency.
As I marvel at my world this week . . .
We live in a world where:
The woman riding shotgun in the car next to mine screams things I cannot hear through her window and flips me the bird because—well, I’m not sure why. She looks a little deranged and angry. That could be why. Just her general disposition. Or, could be she is unhappy I am passing the car she is in. I really don’t care. I just hate that my 10-year-old gets to witness all of this from the backseat of my car.
And yet, just days before . . .
I was brought to tears at a red light as I saw a young woman in a rundown car pull to the side of the road. She handed the homeless man at the highway exit a bag of McDonald’s. Said something to him with the kindest look in her eyes. Not Pollyanna, not even close. But real. From the heart. He did not really respond, but took the bag. She got in her car and drove away. And my teen got to witness this scene.
Same world? Yes. Insane, right?
We live in a world where:
My youngest brings me breakfast in bed on a weekday. Sets his alarm and gets up awfully early to bring me toast dripping with butter and jelly, along with something that looks like cantaloupe but is actually raw butternut squash I had stored in cubes in the refrigerator for my dinner. He has also made me coffee. He says, “Mom, I just thought you needed this because you’ve been working so hard. Thank you for all you do.” And I see a future for him that is just so bright for some lucky woman.
Yet, just the night before . . .
“I will never, ever take this dog out again. Ever. This time and never again.” Said as he slams the door and takes our Lab out before bed. And I think sadly about how he came to be so sassy about chores.
Not just same world, but same 24-hour period. Sheesh.
We live in a world where:
My mail carrier ignores or conveniently “loses” the form I fill out asking for delivery of certified mail on a certain day. It is tax time and this is an important document. I end up begging a worker at the post office to dig it out of some black hole for me two weeks later. This is the same mail carrier who leaves all the heavy items for his Friday substitute. And puts a notice in my door about how the walk needs to be properly shoveled. I think I’ll ask him to put that notice wherever he left my important tax document.
And yet, a couple of weeks ago . . .
I had my plumber over to replace a leaking garbage disposal. Knowing I am not the most mechanical type, he drove to the store, bought what I needed, got me the warranty, installed it and smiled throughout it all. He petted my dog, chatted away and then fixed a leaky water sprayer in my upstairs bathroom. And charged me so much less than what most commercial plumbers do.
Same world. Totally different experiences. One makes me wonder why people choose not to do their jobs well and the other makes me see that you can shine even in the most unglamorous job. One makes my blood boil while the other warms my heart.
I cannot control other cars or their occupants. Nor can I control my children’s mood swings or how well someone chooses to do their job.
So I’m just working on controlling my reactions to these things. Ideally, not really to react at all. Just to be in the moment, where I am, and respond accordingly (mainly to the good stuff).
I try to believe there are more women buying food for the homeless than screaming obscenities out their car windows.
I don’t really know if this is true. I’d like it to be.
I’d like to think that my son will be as unfailingly human as I am but his thoughtful side will win out more often than not.
At least, that’s what we strive for, right? All of us.
I try to do my own job to the best of my ability, knowing that is no guarantee of anything. It’s just the right thing to do.
We live in a world where none of this is certain and it all coexists.
Which, in an odd way, makes me hopeful for the change that may come. Hopefully is already coming. As we all take more responsibility for our own bit of it—driver or passenger, mailman or plumber, mother or son.
It seems the sane choice in an insane world.
13 Comments Add yours
You can only control so much, but I believe you generally reap what you sow and you get what you deserve. It doesn’t always work out that way – people are complex for sure – but generally, I think, others will react favourably if you make the effort. (That was great about the homeless man – I hope it was a healthy option.) 🙂
All of these things test your resolve… they are your “shenpa” (look up Pema Chondron, she’ll explain it). This world stumps me just as much. Be glad you can see the beauty you do…
While we are a group of diverse creatures I would certainly love to see a more consistent move toward kindness. I believe the best we can do in the face of the other is exactly what you have outlined, and that is to control our own reactions to it. Oh, and the butternut squash…even a childfree person like me has to smile at that one! 🙂
Yes, biting into raw butternut squash when expecting cantaloupe is a singular experience:).
Ah, the dance of the dichotomies! I loved all your stories – the woman who stopped to give food to the homeless man; your son’s thoughtfulness in bringing you breakfast in bed AND verbalizing his appreciation (!); the friendly, affordable plumber.
Like you, when I see others behaving in ways that make me cringe, I try not to react, and try not to brood about it. I love your positive mind set, your will to do the right thing, your sanity in this sometimes insane world. Way to be, K. 🙂 xoxo
I hope there are many of us out here, striving for similar result, Amy. Makes it an entirely different world:).
My friend, I believe this to my core: there ARE.
Awesome juxtapositions. An acute attention to detail, which I love.
I love the thought behind the post!
Lovely words. Reminds me of Maya Angelou quote – If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude. Not always easy to do in today’s world, but well worth striving for.
So excellent! Love it. And I can relate…Haha! Like the lady at McDonald’s who walked out of her car at the drive thru and proceeded to rant at me. Another day in California!
Oh yeah! Your learning. Yes it is the other persons problem, just as it is yours when you feel like spitting the dummy. When you can honestly ask yourself why you aren’t happy with something, you begin to realise your happiness does come from where you are within. Always has, always will.
One day when we all find our yucky bits and release them…it WILL be a beautiful world Kay.
May you have a beautiful weekend, full of small boys who care, drivers who smile, and most of all, that ability to understand and love self from those yucky bits that we release 🙂 Namaste
And to you, Mr. Lanesbury, right back ‘atcha. If it’s not small boys who care and drivers who smile, at least whatever warms your heart. Thanks, as always, for the kind words.