When I was in teachers college, I used to take the bus to my placement downtown. I had a short stint where I did a placement at an ESL Center. Everyday I would get on the bus, and there was this little old man I would watch (it isn’t as creepy as it sounds – I promise). He would always get off at the stop by the hospital. And day after day I started to make up a story about him.
In my mind, this man was visiting his sick wife at the hospital each day. He was all alone at home, and would sadly take the bus to go and visit his love. One day, I actually started tearing up. It was kind of ridiculous – because it was a made up story. This wasn’t the first time I did that, or the last. Often I will look at people, imagine what their life is like, and usually feel pretty sad by the end of it.
Especially now. We’re in the thick of our difficult situation and instead of it making me feel like it isn’t fair because “why do we have to go through this” it’s actually making me see and understand a little bit more that everyone is dealing with something.
I’m a pretty impatient person. It used to drive me crazy when people weren’t paying attention. Things like waiting in a drive through line, the person in front of me not going as soon as the light was green, having to really slow down because people were walking too close to the road and not realizing a car was behind them – those things would really bug me.
Until I become that person.
I’m that person standing and staring off while the Starbucks lady says “hello, can I help you?”. I’m that person that gets honked at because I’m not going the second the light turns green. And I’m that person that looks like she’s not really paying attention most of the time. I’m that person because my mind is now consumed with something. I can’t think clearly. I’m often replaying in my mind when we have given Hope her medicine, or when my next appointment is, or if this new movement she is doing is abnormal and I need to call the doctor. And maybe it’s a good day – but I’m still daydreaming about what I wish life looked like in this moment. My mind is constantly racing and because of that I’ve become quite oblivious some days to what’s going on around me. And when I feel like people are being short with me, it takes everything in me not to start crying and scream “I’m just really sad right now ok!”
Because we were in the hospital over the weekend we weren’t able to go for ice cream – something we do once (ok sometimes twice) over the weekend. We drive by the lake, get an ice cream, and then drive home by the lake. We got home from the hospital Monday afternoon and decided to do our ice cream run so that we wouldn’t ruin our streak.
We were driving and a young boy on his bike almost swerved into us. Instead of getting angry I instantly thought that something must be distracting him for him not to have heard us coming. As we continued driving and we passed random people, even the people serving us our ice cream – I started making those stories up in my head again. I know that these stories I make up in my mind are not what’s really going on. I know that not everyone is going through trauma in their life moment by moment – but I think it is fair to say that we are all a little (or a lot) distracted by something going on.
For me, God has used our situation to help open my eyes to a hurting world. I’m still not great at it – I still have my moments where I’d rather honk at the person in front of me instead of letting it go – but God has graciously shown me little by little that not everything is as it seems.
There is heartache and hurt all around us. I pray that God will open my eyes more and more so that I can be compassionate towards others. Honestly, I really believe this is something only God can do. I think even the nicest person struggles with being impatient.
May God use our current troubles to open our eyes. To help us reach out, love better, and be compassionate to those around us.