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Archive for January 4th, 2008

Man on Bicycle (c) Lynda Bernhardt

As I shared yesterday, I was in a car accident on Wednesday. Because of this, I was much more cautious behind the wheel on Thursday. I was nervous when I passed the same spot where I saw the vehicle coming toward me the wrong way in my lane. I stayed in the far right lane on Thursday and will likely not drive in the far left lane for a very long time.

On my way home from picking up my kid, I was in the left lane on a road with two lanes of traffic going both directions and a turn lane in the middle. My lane was stopped because someone who was trying to turn across my lane had pulled out about ¼ of the way into my lane. The car in front of me squeezed by, but it took some maneuvering with oncoming traffic whizzing by in the next lane. I chose just to wait for the car to complete its turn. I did not want to risk getting rear-ended two days in a row if I had to move into the other lane to squeeze by this guy, doubly so with my kid in the car.

Eventually, after maybe 2-3 minutes, someone from the other lane let the car complete its turn. After than, one of the cars that had been waiting behind me drove alongside me and blared its horn repeatedly, startling my son and prompting a bunch of questions. Then, as he turned off the street, he gave me the finger – not a hand gesture I want to explain to my seven-year-old child.

I kept thinking that if this guy only knew that I could have been killed yesterday in a head-on collision and was, in fact, rear-ended yesterday, maybe he would not have been such a jerk. Or maybe he would have been, but that’s a whole different topic. This got me thinking about how frequently we judge one another based upon very limited information.

How many people have rolled their eyes about my phobia of Russian Nesting Dolls, not knowing that those objects were involved in a savage gang rape? How often do I rib a friend for a quirk that is actually the residue of deep trauma?

We cannot know all that another person has experienced, but we must try to be open to accepting that all of us act and react the way that we do for a reason. In most cases, people are not purposely trying to be quirky or annoying. There are often reasons behind why we do things the way that we do them. Rather than try to make people feel badly about themselves for making different choices than we would like, perhaps we can all try having a little more compassion for one another.

Photo credit: Lynda Bernhardt

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