Dear Radiant Sweet Soul,
I had just scanned my lottery tickets at the machine that one day will ring bells and whistles for me. Oh, why yes, I DO play. Because I dream…
And one day… when the bells and whistle go off, I will build a center for people to come be creative, receive therapy, and heal, …for free.
Anyhoo, I had won $15. Yup. And was headed to the customer service counter to cash out and recycle into new tickets.
As I quickened by pace to the counter, a little old lady with a humped over back and blue hair waddled in front of me. I knew she was headed to the counter too. And it was one of those times when you calculate the distance and if walking past them (to get ahead of them) would be okay or down right rude.
I decided rude. But her slow shuffle pace really…irritated me.
(there I said it)
But I calmly waited, walked slower and breathed (because that’s the advice from last week’s “B” SoulCare Card that I needed to apply to my “fast-paced-selfish-mefirstbecauseyou’regoingtoslow!” mentality).
We waited for a store employee to show up. Too long in my opinion. I considered stepping ahead of her and pressing the button under the BIG RED ARROW SIGN that said “press for help.” Good grief, can’t she see it?!? I have $15 of winnings to collect, come-on press the button!
Finally a big bouncy young store clerk arrived. A bit too cheery, she loudly asked the lady what she needed. I presumed her increased volume was an assumption the elderly woman couldn’t hear well… just like I assumed she couldn’t see well (remember, the BIG RED arrow sign?).
The small woman spoke softly, even my bionic ears couldn’t
hear eavesdrop. Big bouncy clerk spoke…responding…loudly: “I’M SORRY, WE DON’T HAVE THOSE HERE, YOU HAVE TO GO ON LINE AND GO TO EMPLOYMENT AND FIND A JOB AND FILL OUT A FORM TO APPLY THERE. THAT’S THE ONLY WAY WE DO IT NOW. SO GO ON LINE AND LOOK FOR A JOB.”
…my heart just sank.
This elderly woman, had frail hips that barely had skin to cover. If she was 4’11” I’d be exaggerating. Shoulders and back hunched over that had seen an entire life of work. Who was clearly (now I could see) dressed up with pressed mauve polyester pants and a blue cardigan, her hair (I now could see) was a freshly pinned style, and tan Buster Brown shoes, stood there asking about where “on line was.”
Big bouncy clerk was oblivious as SHE RESPONDED AGAIN LIKE THIS to a woman, who had tried to speak softly–quietly–discreetly–who shouldn’t need to work, and should be loved and cared for… but that was just my heart’s opinion.
In that moment, I forgot I had winning tickets.
I forgot that she irritated me with her slow walk.
I forgot what I needed to get at the grocery store.
I forgot…to be compassionate.
Plato* said it best.
“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.”
(*recent “quote” researchers have some evidence this isn’t from Plato… as if you cared)
Sweet Radiant Soul, how often do we miss the issue, the person, the real rawness under the circumstance that gets us focused on our own needs?
…I do all the time.
So this week’s SoulCare Card is for me, maybe you too.
When someone else is driving you crazy, consider what you know about them. Consider their story. Maybe they are in a place of transience that is a hard battle. Consider what you know, it might soften your experience with them. It could activate your “compassion” muscle.
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