day 229 – tolerance
For those of you who follow my blog you know it is in an effort to find daily gratitude in everyday life. This has been no easy feat yet a blessing as well. I believe in many ways this journey has made me more aware – which can sometimes be troubling.
I happen to live in a very affluent town in New England. Last night as I was going to turn off my light, roll over and rest my weary head I quickly checked my email. Mistake! I am not sure why I haven’t learned this lesson as of yet…I belong to a group email system for my neighborhood. It is generally used to ask advice, make announcements and such. Last night there was a quick email from a neighbor I do not know complaining about the “racket” some fireworks caused maybe 10 minutes prior to his email. It was not an unfriendly email – just a statement of annoyance and a plea to cease in the future. Well, the annoyance I felt from his email was completely overwhelming! The fireworks were set off at 9:30 on a Saturday night in July – and they couldn’t have lasted more than 10 minutes if that! I was fuming and very much wanted to write my annoyance back instantly. Perhaps the fireworks people were celebrating a wedding or a birth, or maybe they were honoring someone who has passed – or maybe the fireworks people were just having 10 minutes of fun on a balmy July evening! It makes me so discouraged because people are hearing these sounds across the world on a daily basis – only they aren’t fireworks… Doesn’t anyone realize how lucky we are?? However, I must admit – the largest problem in this story is my own reaction to it – why am I so angry and righteous? Why can’t I seem to cut the firecracker downer some slack? Maybe he had a bad day… maybe the elderly people staying in his house are on his case or maybe he was just plain tired.
Earlier in the day my daughter and I were shopping, just for fun, just looking around really. We went to wait in line to purchase our two items. The lady in front of us was called up to the counter with a very full cart of goods, including a fairly large basket. The chipper young lady behind the counter asked if she would like her to pack her purchases inside of the basket. The older woman snapped at her “what else would I pack it in”?!! The now frail girl flushed and said “um, a bag?” as she held up one of the stores bags. She looked as if she was slapped. What the heck? What was that for?– she was so mean and for apparently no reason…
Even earlier in the day received a disturbing email. You see, I recently moved into a rental house (last Feb) and the house has since sold. I am having trouble finding a place to move to, it being the summer in a desirable location. I asked for a month extension on my lease fully expecting this would be no big deal. I did help with the sale and have been extremely accommodating to the buyer, letting him come repeatedly into the house. In return I got a very sweet email full of compliments and niceties, but basically saying – nope – you have to be out in a month. Well, I have no where to go… I was extremely upset – how could people be so unhelpful and unkind?
While reading this upsetting email my daughter came down the stairs saying, “mom… Mom…” and I snapped – “What?!!”. She blinked and said, “I just wanted to tell you the dinner you made last night tasted even better today.”… ACK – what a jerk – how intolerant am I?? What the heck! Look at me…
I ended up taking my daughter out to a movie, some shopping and a bite to eat. To cheer us both up. At the restaurant the young man behind the counter paid us both a compliment… very subtle, but a compliment nonetheless. This didn’t fully hit me until well after a couple hours of tossing and turning in my bed that night and being furious at everyone’s intolerance, including my own… He took the extra minute in life it takes to make someone smile. Someone I have never seen before and will probably never see again. Just being kind. Wow.
Bravo to my daughter who instead of retaliating just slowly said what she was going to in the first place. An extra large bravo to the twenty-something Five Guys counter guy who took a moment in time to make someone else feel good, a pat on the back to those who react without thinking, for perhaps right now they are berating themselves for being unkind and are rethinking how they really want to come across in this world and an “it’s okay” to me – for all I can do it, stop, breathe, and try to be better.