Wednesday, July 15, 2009

a moment of mindfulness...or in this case un-mindfulness

"The bad things in life open your eyes to the good things you were not paying attention to before"

I’m holding two cups of very hot beverages…John’s coffee and my tea. I walk out of the store and see that people are crossing the road that I need to cross. I rush toward the street and hop off the curb thinking I need to hurry before the light changes. I’m at the tail end of the people rush with a significant gap between me and the person ahead. I hear honking. Look up to my right and see a very large red truck speeding up towards me. I look over at the street light and see that the light is green, in fact, in a second of horror and deep humiliation I realize that I had blindly followed a crowd of people across the road when the oncoming traffic absolutely had the right of way.

Obviously, the red truck with its angry resentful driver somehow found the compassion not to hit me since I’m here write about the incident. I was so shook up after I did get across the street and safely into the safety of the sidewalk that somehow two little books quoting Bible scriptures ended up in my hand, and I have no idea how they got there. I vaguely remember being handed something, but I cannot remember by who or where or when.

I wasn’t mad at the driver at all even though I didn’t agree with his way of handling my error. I wasn’t concerned about the people who witnessed the whole thing and their thoughts about me. I was mostly just amazed at how thoughtless I was. Those few seconds of un-mindfulness could have cost me my life. I had no reason to hurry really. I made a choice and acted on it based on what a group of people I do not even know did. This is not being conscious. This is the same kind of everyday thoughtlessness that results in pollution, arguments, and loss of life.

I spent the rest of the weekend consciously looking at the pedestrian signal at every intersection I needed to cross. I waited patiently for the signal to change from the red hand to the white man walking even if there was clearly no oncoming traffic and other people crossed. And I was filled with gratitude each time I could make that choice.


  1. Phew!! We had a moment like that just this morning with my sweet Adam running toward our van without checking the parking lot first. I screamed "freeze" just as the mom (Thank God it was another mom!) driving the van slammed on her brakes! I'm going to read your story to him as soon as I get him inside!

    Thank you for sharing it-- and great quote at the top!


  2. Those are moment of utter panic when a child is involved. I am so glad the driver was being mindful and saw Adam and that he is okay. Parking lots are so dangerous, especially for little kids.

  3. I know, I'm always a little nervous getting everyone out in a parking lot. Adam's always been so careful, but this one time he just darted. I tried to explain to him a gently as possible that one time is too many when we're talking about one of my most favorite people on the planet :-)

    I do believe I am going to bed with a few more gray hairs tonight!


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