It’s a sad fact that it’s usually someone else’s misfortune that puts our life back in perspective. I know it is with me at least. I was originally going to talk about painting for today’s post but something happened last night, which made me change my word to perception and perspective instead.
Yesterday was a frustrating day on multiple levels and on top of that I was running late to an appointment I had after work. Only on the road for a few minutes, it wasn’t long before I saw taillights. “Now what?” I said out loud, very annoyed at yet another probably idiot driver causing problems and making me late. Traffic slowed down to a complete stop. I craned my neck out the window trying to get a look at the “idiot” and I could just make out the flashing lights of several police cars. Good news—I was at least close enough to the scene so I wasn’t looking at miles and miles of delay ahead of me. I was still on a slow burn about not having anywhere to turn around, and all I could do was think so I continued to stew about earlier events from the day and become more and more annoyed.
Eventually we started to move—okay crawl. I heard the scream of the ambulance before I saw it but soon enough there it was, splitting the immobile drivers ahead of it like Moses parting the sea. Ambulances are never good. Eventually we all crawled toward each other zippering into one lane, and then I saw it. A car so badly damaged, with debris everywhere and its roof sheared off. I could actually make out the impact of the driver’s head on the spidered windshield. I shuddered.
Immediately my day’s problems became trivial. Mesmerized at the level of devastation, I slowly drove past the accident and was finally able to accelerate onto the open highway. I no longer cared if I was late and my annoyances from earlier in the day suddenly became trivial and not worth the energy of anger and frustration I had given them. I said a prayer for whoever was in the accident and for the family that would get the call to go to the hospital. Yeah, my day could have been a whole lot worse. Perspective. That was last night’s lesson and I knew would be the perfect subject for today’s post.
Our perception is really our opinion and is constantly skewed by judgment many times without us even being aware of it. It’s our view on how things seem to us and not necessarily how they really are. By shifting focus, even just a little bit, will help put our situations in a whole different light:
- That call that wasn’t returned from your insurance agent? He was at his father’s funeral and just came back into the office.
- That car that was speeding up on your bumper and passed you at his first opportunity? He is on his way to the hospital for the delivery of his first-born.
- That obese man in the checkout lane at the supermarket with the steak and butter and potatoes and ice cream? They’re not for him. He’s making a meal for his son and the son’s new fiancé he’ll be meeting for the first time.
Last night was another wake up call for me and so I’m ringing the bells for anyone else reading this.
Someone else took it deeper for me…..