Today I was in a hurry to get somewhere. If you have ever seen the traffic in Northern Virginia, you will understand the words snarl, jam and moving parking lot. The secret side roads are no longer secrets. Everybody knows how to detour around traffic jams, causing traffic jams on roads that rarely see traffic. Welcome to my world.
Today however, I was aggravated with waiting at a stoplight, for five flicks of the green light. I am yelling at the car in front of me to “move already”. That car could not “move” as I demanded ,due to the four cars in front of him. I watched the green turn to yellow, then red. Watching the traffic wiz by on the road I wanted to be on, I noticed that every car had its hazard lights blinking. So now we know what the hold up is. A Funeral.
Finally I got onto the 4 lane highway, delighted to be free of slow, Sunday afternoon drivers who obviously are not as important to the world’s operation, as I am. Finally my speedometer climbs above the posted 55 to a nice cruising speed of 65. Ahhhhh, I will be at my destination within ten minutes. Then I see it. The blinking hazard lights, the roadway lit up for miles, escorted by several police cruisers and motorcycle cops. I moved over to the fast lane, careful NOT to break the procession but to move along the highway at a speed greater than a snail’s pace. I was annoyed.
Just as I topped the hill, there sat a police cruiser, sitting in my lane at the stoplight. The office standing facing me, stretched out his white gloved hand, bringing me to a complete stop. The funeral procession, or at least the part I had passed three miles back, slowly began drifting past my stopped car. I was annoyed.
Once the final car had passed, the police officer retreated to his cruiser. You could hear the acceleration of his cruiser and he raced up the highway to join the processional. My light turned green, finally.
I coasted down the hill, almost to my destination, which in this case, was a right turn coming up. Just as I got to the bottom of the hill, there it was again. Blinking hazard lights. The processional. This time, I am trapped behind them, because I have to turn right soon, and know that I can not zip past a few, and break procession.
As I looked up the hill at the countless cars, trucks and vans , suddenly I snapped out of the trance I had fallen into. What was I thinking? Every person ahead of me is suffering from a loss, grieving for the person they are on their way to bury. I am concerned with what? Arriving at a destination a few minutes late?
My destination was work. Work. A dementia care facility where residents require attention, compassion, patience and understanding. I, as the administrator should be a walking role model, airing these traits as I carry myself through the building. Today, I am ashamed. Ashamed of how I behaved on the highway. Ashamed and rightfully so.
I choose to blog about this today to simply encourage you to be a better person than I was today. We all have things to do, missions to complete and destinations we need to be at in five minutes. But you know, sometimes we need to realize that it is not “always about you or me”. Sometimes we need to think about what other people are going through and show compassion, kindness…patience…..and remember, ït’s not always about me.