Thursday, January 10, 2013

Slow Down

January 10

Act # 10:  Let off the gas.

It's about 3 miles from my house to the interstate, a route that I take daily to work. This morning I had a fairly important meeting and had carved out just enough time to get there promptly. As soon as I pulled out of my subdivision I found myself following a little, worn, silver car, that accelerated at the speed of 25 miles per hour.  For the next 3 miles, I impatiently "hovered" behind the car, hoping it would somehow sense my urgent need for it to actually utilize its gas pedal. The 3-mile trek was excruciatingly painful for all of us in the long line of cars that had formed behind the little silver car.  And just as soon as I was able, I seized my first chance to escape, and quickly passed the car where the lanes split into two. A quick glance, maybe even a dirty look, may have taken place. I'm not proud of it, but I just HAD to see the person who was single-handedly responsible for ruining the dawn of my day.

And I did.

He was a wrinkled and frail 80 year-old man in a red and black-checkered flannel shirt.  Lying in the back seat was an old beat-up wheelchair, and hanging from his rear-view mirror was a bright blue handicap tag. He was focused, intent, like he was trying, with every ounce of his concentrate, to do the best he knew how. For all I know, he could have very well been going to a doctor's appointment. Or to get some milk. Or even to visit his widow's gravesite.  Whatever his destination, he clearly needed to get there, and probably had to overcome a heck of a lot more than I did to get out of bed today.

I of course felt like the smallest human being on earth. A million random acts of kindness couldn't erase this one act of selfish insensitivity, and lack of regard for a fellow human. Last week Merlene Davis was writing about my kindness. This week, I'm running over a helpless little old man.

While I'm constantly searching for ways to move forward, to make change, to be bold and take action, today I was reminded of the value of stillness.  That true peace begins within.  I'm reminded that sometimes in order to get ahead, you actually have to slow down.  At least enough to see someone else's journey. Enough to care. The world might indeed become a better place if we cut each other a little slack, considered each other's personal challenges.  Slowed down.


  1. I can't imagine this one not hitting close to home for anyone reading it! We all fall short at times don't we? There are very few people that actually learn from it. :)

    1. Yes, we do and I know that I do all the time. Lucky to be surrounded by people who love me enough to call me on it though.