Thursday mornings I somehow manage to scramble out of the house to make it for a exercise training session with other mothers. I’ve mentioned them in a previous post – tough as nails, super-fit ladies.
Last week, arriving early at the gym, I was doing some stretches as I waited for the other mums.
Located on the second floor, I happened to look out the window and noticed that there was a car in the midst of a reverse park, blocking the traffic behind it. There were three women were on the street and I recognised two of them were mums of our training group.
After ten minutes of what seemed to be heated discussion, mobile phone calling and photo taking, the two ladies finally made it to the gym. Both arrived looking somber – one with red eyes from crying and still sobbing from the trauma and commotion.
As the group remained silent and sympathetic, our personal trainer asked her if she was okay, if the car was damaged.
Still sobbing she replied, “I don’t care about the car. It’s just the animosity of people these days. Just how aggressive and rude people can be.”
Despite having apologized, the lady she hit behind her confronted the situation with profanities and abuse. Even her little daughter sitting in the front seat, witnessing her mother’s irrational behaviour didn’t stop her.
Car accidents – no matter how minor – always cause stress and anxiety.
The dramatic sound of metal hitting metal or tyres screeching causing the distinct smell of burnt rubber.
Then, the inevitable face-to-face encounter with the other driver. Whether you’re at fault or they are, you never know what kind of personality you’re going to have to deal with.
As our friend dried her eyes to start training, she shrugged her shoulders, “It’s just this area. Everyone here is in such a hurry to get somewhere. So much aggression.”
I didn’t say anything, but I disagree.
It seems to be human nature to make sure we get ahead. Maybe it’s a survival instinct.
What is unfortunate is the lack of thought. The time to sit back and see how our actions might effect others.
This incident and others over the past week made me think of a poem I discovered in my early 20’s.
It maybe s a little too new-ageish or “out there with the stars” for some people. Personally, it helps me switch on the pause button in my – often unnecessarily – preoccupied life.
It doesn’t specifically talk about religion or tells us what we “should, could, would” do in our lives.
It talks about peace and finding perspective.
Allow me to share it with you.
Go placidly amid the noise and the haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible, without surrender,
be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others,
even to the dull and the ignorant;
they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons;
they are vexatious to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain or bitter,
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs,
for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals,
and everywhere life is full of heroism.
Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love,
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment,
it is as perennial as the grass.
Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
Beyond a wholesome discipline,
be gentle with yourself.
You are a child of the universe
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.
Therefore be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to be.
And whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life,
keep peace in your soul.
With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.
— by Max Ehrmann
Musings of Mama Grace © 2011