“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a great battle.”
-Philo of Alexandria
This moss and trunk of a bonsai tree at the Denver Botanical Gardens is an icon to me, reminding me of how often I do not see the entire tree.
Yesterday, I was driving on an errand only to arrive behind a very slow car. I was over-caffeinated, over-stimulated, over-scheduled and over-anxious. Basically, a time-bomb on wheels. I had both hands on the wheel and was taking half-breaths as I fought the urge to yell “speed up lady!” to the empty insides of my car and jai’s impressionable ears. I was frustrated, and though not in full road-rage, the rage and I were winking at each other in the recesses of my mind like two people at a bar after midnight. Why was she driving so slowly?! Why was she reading a sheet of paper and driving at the same time? Why did I have so much coffee with lunch…
Later I was at the hospital to get my prescription. I had forgotten the incident with the lady – until I saw her – there – in the pharmacy waiting room – with me – waiting for her medications. There she was, clear as day, with her red dress and white lace collar, her white hair and that same piece of white paper in her hands. It was as if the white things were waving at me like surrender flags. But now I saw her age, her tired face, her weakness from some illness, her trembling, paper-holding hand and her cane. And what seemed to be a broken heart.
While driving, all I saw was the head of a slow driver – in my way. Now I saw the face and hands of a frail, ill, hurting human. And the experience reminded me that what I see in life is only part of the story. It reminded me to look at the world with more compassion, perhaps beginning with myself as leverage to the compassion for others.