With political hyperbole and divisiveness filling the airwaves, creating reactivity, I’ve been looking for signs that caring community is alive and well. Here’s an example that lifted my heart:
It was a busy workday morning. I was heading to my ‘office,’ a local coffee shop with no distractions. Normally, I turn on my car, then NPR or an audio book. Reaching for the controller I ‘heard’ a voice say, “No. You’re already too stressed out by the hearings. Choose silence.” I didn’t argue(!). Five minutes later, I had to turn left. There were two turning lanes. I pulled up next to the world’s biggest flat-bed truck, transporting a huge construction vehicle. My limbic system flashed ‘Danger!’ In response, that same inner voice said, ” Look again.” I turned and looked calmly at the truck. In the silence, I felt that all was well. Nothing alarming. I took a deep breath. The light turned green. We all turned left smoothly. I was filled with gratitude – for the conveniences and conveyances and companionship of caring people, around me all the time. And I felt sad that I couldn’t say THANK YOU to the trucker with stellar spatial awareness and control of his vehicle.
I arrived at the coffee shop and found a seat at the window. Ten minutes later, the enormous truck pulled up right outside my window. The driver got out. “This is my chance!” I jumped up to rush outside to say THANK YOU. Before I got to the door, the driver came in. I took a deep breath and told him how grateful I am for his responsible driving, how much it matters to trust each other sharing the road. He looked at me in amazement, tears welling up, as he said, “I’ve had a lot of angry people glaring at me, waggling their fingers. But no one has ever thanked me before. (Overwhelmed) You made my day!” I teared up, too. We both got quiet. He looked at me and asked, “Can I give you a hug?” Yes!
I would have never noticed my limbic reactivity or the calm sense that all was well with the truck and driver if I’d immersed myself in the radio or a recorded book. I needed silence, spaciousness, to be simply present, available to receive the gift of gratitude for the relationships which create caring community.
Please join me watching for signs of caring, by being present in this overwhelming season, responding in your own caring ways.