Last Friday morning, I hit a curb, hard, as I was pulling into my doctor’s parking lot. By the time I reached a parking space, there was an ominous hissing noise. I took some deep breaths and stayed calm throughout my meeting with the doctor; fortunately my stress did not show up in my blood pressure reading. The good news is, I was not hurt and was in a safe place to wait for the tow truck. The bad news was that instead of plowing through piles of desk work, I had to spend much of my day dealing with two flat tires.
The tow truck arrived, driven by a tattooed young man with a gentle smile. Once he got the car up on the truck bed, I vaulted into the tow truck front seat for the ride to the Toyota dealership. Cory and I started talking. He told me about his work (he has been driving a tow truck for 7 years, which seemed impossible given that he looked about 18 years old). After he reminded me it was Good Friday, we talked about the Baptist church he likes, but is too shy to interact with others or come to the front to be welcomed. He said he listens to the sermon each week, and then, pointing to his chest, he told me “Sometimes that pastor is speaking right to me, like he knows me or something…and I feel it in my heart.” In that brief conversation with Cory, I was reminded to listen to my heart, and be open to learning from others.
Later, while I was cooling my heels in the crowded dealership waiting room, a man and his young son asked if they could sit beside me. They each had a huge donut from the pastry tray used to numb restive customers into sugar comas. They prayed over their donuts in hushed voices. I was reminded to be grateful, for even the small things in life.
After a couple of hours, I got my estimate (which worsened my throbbing headache) and was told I could have the dealership driver take me home while the repairs were done later that afternoon. George, a gentleman past retirement age (whatever that is these days), obviously loved his job as driver. He told me about his family, his health issues, and how his favorite thing to do was be with his two young grand-daughters. Some days the pain in his knees is almost more than he can take, but he works because he enjoys meeting and helping others. He claimed his job as driver is the best job in the whole dealership. George reminded me to focus on what I love, and work through the pain in life.
Each of these encounters was a blessing to me, on a tough day. Circumstances forced me to slow down. By paying attention to those who crossed my path that day, I was reminded of some basic truths that I sometimes forget: Listen to others’ wisdom, and to what touches my heart. Be grateful and show it. Relish my work and the privilege of having work I enjoy. Life has painful times; respond with grace.
What reminders do others have for you? How well do you pay attention to those you encounter in even the most mundane settings? What have you learned from others lately? If I can support you in exploring those questions, please ask. Have a wonderful month!
Sharon Keys Seal