So earlier today while I was running errands, I saw something so, so very sad. I was waiting at a red light and realized that a funeral procession was crossing through the intersection in my direction. As I watched them drive by, I began to think about how the family and friends might be feeling on this gray, rainy Saturday afternoon as they drove to the final resting place of their loved one. I then realized that the procession had ended after only a few cars. My light turned green and as I moved though the intersection, I saw that the procession had stopped because one of the cars crossing through the intersection had been t-boned by a car that hadn’t paying attention to anything other than the stoplight, which for him was green. Had he been paying to attention to things around him and not just what was going on for him, he would have hopefully realized that there was a funeral procession and that the appropriate (and legal) thing to do would be to wait until the motorcade passed and then continue forward through the intersection when his light was green. Unfortunately, however, this is obviously not what happened.
As I drove past the vehicles, I saw the young women with her head in her hands, her hands on her steering wheel. The accident didn’t look bad enough that she was likely hurt physically, but just her position and posture indicated that she was hurt in ways other than her body. Her heart was hurting. Her heart was aching. And this was likely the straw that broke her back.
The reason I think this is an important story to share is that it illustrates that we are not the center of anyone’s universe but our own. That’s it. I’m the center of mine. You are the center of yours. And your friend is the center of his. The young woman that was hit is the center of her universe and all she could think after the moment of impact was “I can’t believe this happened to ME, TODAY.” The older man is the center of his universe and all he could think after the moment of impact was “I can’t believe this happened to ME, TODAY.”
It is very important to remember this and to remember that while our worlds do revolve around us, everyone else’s world revolves around them in the exact same way. We need to be mindful of others and to pay attention to what’s going on around us. Always. Accidents so often happen when we are trapped in our own head, with our own thoughts. When we take a moment to step outside of ourselves and to remember that other people exist and that they are just as important as we are, we move into a deeper place of empathy. And it is only through empathy and compassion that we can see the beauty and grace in others. Seeing this beauty and grace is the most effective way to begin to see the beauty and grace in ourselves. Because other’s reflect what we put forth.