We are often faced with a crisis when our reaction really sometimes has no bearing on how we feel deep inside. In meaning, we can find ourselves in retrospect wishing we might have reacted in a different manner.
Just this morning driving home from a bicycle ride, a young woman pulled in front of my car as we were turning onto a main road. My music was high enough that when I honked my horn I couldn’t hear it and so I laid on it a bit longer than I perhaps needed. As traffic allowed I eased past her and a look of shame swept her expression as she apologized with much remorse. I myself raised my hands in a peaceful gesture as traffic moved on. Later in the irony of traveling a busy road we pulled up next to one another at a light. We rolled our windows down and each waffled apologies and laughter and then went on our way.
When I reflect on that moment, my reaction is I wished I hadn’t laid on the horn as I did. When she reflects, she would rather she had not eased between two lanes without checking her blind spot. Life happens and we move forward, and yet there are so many events in our lives, that if we could change or be given a do over, wouldn’t we all take a few and cross them off of our list?
Recently I met with a former student, told her I had some ailments early in the week and decided to get a test (purpose being to appease my older siblings) just to make sure everything was alright. We exchanged thoughts about COVID 19 and went along our way. A few minutes after I got home, I received a call from her father, expressing concern, because his daughter already struggles with major anxiety and now is questioning whether she should go to work – having been ‘exposed’ in her own mind. I assured him otherwise and told him I was doing it for other reasons, and described my symptoms and am pretty confident left him feeling better.
But what about his daughter? What if in a week I am positive? What about all the people I have interacted with over the last month? I can assure there have been only enough to count on one hand because I am as afraid of this pandemic as anyone chooses to be, but I just cannot imagine being responsible for passing this on to someone else. If my test returns positive I will be mortified. Lesson learned? Keep your mouth shut unless you absolutely must reveal something important to another person. Keep your social distance and wear a mask.
So, back to square one, reflecting upon choices I have made in my life. I have given example of two experiences that will one – remain a funny story about clearly two people not at all interested in road rage. The second speaks to the need to be cautious with knowledge especially when it comes to raising the anxiety of a person already struggling with her own nervous response to life. Both have their own merit, and both are in my mind right now as I write this reflection.
God help me if my life were only asked to have bearing on those two instances. There is much that occurs in our lives every day, during different seasons, along our path to some wisdom we might pass on to other generations, not actively, more indirectly. My life as it is today is vastly different than it was even six months ago. More evident is when I reflect upon the last five years, the decisions I made are now seemingly irreparable, but at the same time, I am always hopeful for resolve.
I step back and look at how it is I have lived my life, how I have thrown priority upon others without often taking into account their own reaction to life’s events around them especially when it comes to direct interactions with someone I care about. Today, all I can do is realize and hope for brighter days ahead.
In the greater scheme of things, I’ll put on some Beatles and watch another storm roll into the late afternoon.
© Scott F Savage 7/2020